Manitoba split for Cascades

The University of the Fraser Valley women's basketball team is still in first place, but recent times have been tough.

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team split weekend games in Manitoba.

The Cascades were victims of an upset loss Friday, falling 77-74 in overtime to the Winnipeg Wesmen.

Heavy favourites coming in, UFV led for all but 15 seconds of regulation time. The Cascades had a 53-35 lead late in the third quarter, but their shooting went stone-cold in the fourth quarter.

The Wesmen out-scored UFV 20-7 down the stretch and 15-12 in OT to complete to comeback.

“Winnipeg did what Winnipeg does. They got on a roll and rode the emotional wave to a great victory for them,” said Cascades coach Al Tuchscherer. “We did what we wanted to do for about 28 minutes, and then we couldn’t match their passion.”

Chilliwack native Nicole Wierks led UFV with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Fellow Chilliwackian Courtney Bartel drained 13 points, adding five steals.

Stephanie Kleyson led the Wesmen with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

The women bounced back Saturday, cruising to an 85-68 win over the Manitoba Bisons.

UFV led from the third minute to the final whistle.

The shooting was much better, with the Cascades hitting on 31 of 60 from the floor and 8 of 18 from three-point range.

Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori had three three pointers in the opening half en-route to a teamhigh 18 points.

Wierks added 12 points and Kaitlyn Brink (Abbotsford) drained 10.

Bisons sharp shooter Robin Eyer had a game high 19 points, including five-of-seven from beyond the arc.

“This was a more focused effort tonight from everyone,” Tuchscherer said. “Offensively we really did some nice things in the first half and it was important for us to get back in the win column.”

At 8-4, UFV continues to hold down first place in the Canada West Pacific division, but three teams are nipping at their heels.

Thompson Rivers, UBC and Victoria are all 7-5.

The women are in Kamloops this weekend for back to back games against the TRU Wolfpack.

See ufvcascades.ca for more.