Tessa Klassen made sure her last game at the Envision Athletic Centre would be a memorable one.
The University of the Fraser Valley’s fifth-year point guard rained down three-pointers on the Calgary Dinos on Friday, helping the Cascades women’s basketball team sweep their best-of-three first round playoff series.
Klassen went 7-for-11 from beyond the arc, accounting for all of her game-high 21 points. Four of her three-bombs came during the decisive third quarter, when the Cascades drained any suspense from the proceedings by expanding a six-point halftime lead as high as 24 points.
“I haven’t really had one of those games before, where everything I chuck up there is dropping, essentially,” Klassen marveled afterward. “They (the Dinos) had some miscommunications, and I was open at the three quite a bit. And I was feeling it, so I kept shooting it.”
In both of the Cascades’ victories over the Dinos – they also won 63-43 on Thursday – the visitors built a lead in the first quarter.
But on both occasions, the UFV women maintained their poise. And once they got their bearings defensively, they dominated.
The Cascades got big games from their dynamic sibling duo of Sarah and Nicole Wierks, who scored 15 and 13 points, respectively while hauling down five rebounds apiece. And Aieisha Luyken counted four three-pointers among her 13 points.
But it was Klassen’s night. In addition to her scorching shooting from downtown, the 5’8″ senior had a team-high six rebounds and five assists, and even blocked a shot during the decisive third-quarter run.
“Tessa was unbelievable,” Cascades coach Al Tuchscherer enthused. “She wasn’t going to let her last game here go down in a bad way, right? In that third quarter, she put us on her back, and she wasn’t going to miss. She’s an elite player in our league, and she showed that tonight.”
Never mind her own eye-popping shooting numbers – Klassen was most excited about a more obscure stat. She explained that a team manager keeps track of “positive interactions” between UFV teammates, and the Cascades had a record high on Friday.
“High fives, smacks on the butt, smiles, everything,” Klassen said with a chuckle, breaking down the system. “It’s pretty sweet.
“It always pays off – you can tell when we’re going to have a good game by our body language and how positive we are with each other. We were able to come together and stay positive for a full 40 minutes, essentially.”
The Dinos saw four players score in double figures – Jessica Franz (15 points), Megan Lang (13), Tamara Jarrett (13) and Jenna Kaye (11) – but they shot just 32.1 per cent from the field, which paled in comparison to UFV’s red-hot 49.1 per cent success rate.
The Cascades advance to the Canada West Final Four, which will likely be held at the University of Regina. It’s the second straight Final Four appearance for Tuchscherer’s charges.
“I think there’s only six teams that have even been to the final four in the past seven years, and now we’ve gone back to back,” Tuchscherer said. “I think that’s huge for our program. I’m really proud of the girls.”