Deanna Tuchscherer in action for UFV in a women’s basketball preseason game versus Thompson Rivers U. (UFV Cascades photo)

Deanna Tuchscherer in action for UFV in a women’s basketball preseason game versus Thompson Rivers U. (UFV Cascades photo)

GW Graham basketball grad Deanna Tuchscherer prepares for home court debut

Tuchscherer’s University of the Fraser Valley Cascades take on the UBC-Okanagan Heat this weekend.

After starting her university basketball career on the Canadian prairies, Deanna Tuchscherer will play her first home games with the UFV women’s basketball team this weekend.

The GW Graham grad has played b-ball at the Envision Athletic Centre in Abbotsford hundreds (maybe thousands) of times.

Her dad, Al Tuchscherer, is the coach of the UFV women, so she practically grew up in that gym.

But it’ll be different being on the floor instead of in the stands when the Cascades host the UBC-Okanagan Heat Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (5 p.m.)

“I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched them (UFV) play so many times, but to be on the court and be part of the team, I think that’ll be a really cool thing,” Tuchscherer said. “A lot of my biggest role models growing up were girls in that program, like Kayli (Sartori), Aieisha (Luyken) and Carmella (Silvestri).

“I imagined being where they were at some point in my life, and now I am.”

The Tuchscherer family has sat in the same seats for years.

Being on the floor, wearing that black and green uniform and looking at her sister, mother and grandparents in the stands, she thinks that will be a different experience even if the venue is familiar.

Tuchscherer hopes to put on a show for her cheering section, which will also include former GW Graham teammates.

It’s been an interesting start to her U-Sports career.

The teenager flashed big-time ability in the preseason, leading UFV in scoring in several matches.

Her regular season start has been more of a challenge

She collected nine points, two rebounds, a block and a steal in 22 minutes of a 77-62 loss to the Winnipeg Wesmen. In the rematch one night later she played 37 minutes, posting seven points, four rebounds and two steals.

“It’s an adjustment in every possible way, but it’s been pretty good so far,” she said. “We compete hard in practice and we’ve been training so long it’s starting to feel like it’s all coming together.”

It’s an adjustment going from the high school world where you’re generally bigger and stronger than every opponent to one where everyone is big and strong.

“I’d gotten used to being the strongest one on the floor, and now coming here, I’m playing against full grown women,” she concurred.

UFV’s opponent this weekend is the UBC-Okanagan Heat, a young team with six freshmen and four sophomores on the 15 player roster.

The Heat are 1-3 to start the season, with two losses to the University of Manitoba and a split with Thompson Rivers U.

Tuchscherer hopes her Cascades can add to UBC-O’s early-season struggles, get themselves into the win column and start rolling.

“I think we have a lot of potential with this group,” she said. “I think if we just keep working we have the ability to do some really special things this year.

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