A scorching-hot start lit the fuse for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team on Saturday evening as they defeated the UBC Thunderbirds 77-62.
The Cascades, coming off a heartbreaking 76-74 loss to the T-Birds on Friday in which a pair of UFV three-point attempts clanged off the rim in the dying seconds, led by as many as 23 points in the first half, then fended off a UBC comeback effort in the third quarter to seal a decisive victory.
UFV (6-4) had a strong effort defensively, limiting the Thunderbirds (8-4) to 29.6 per cent shooting from the field, and rookie Jessica Parker paced the offence with a career-high 19 points.
“You never know how your team is going to react after a close loss,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “You just hope they’re going to come back with a more determined effort, and they did tonight. It was fantastic to see that they came out even more hungry. We got UBC on their heels a little bit, and that carried on throughout the rest of the game.”
The Cascades led wire-to-wire, opening the game on a 5-0 run highlighted by three points from Parker, and were up 29-13 at the end of the first quarter. They continued to cruise in the second, opening the frame with an Amanda Thompson jumper, a Jessica Zawada triple, and an Alexis Worrell up-and-under bucket to stake out a 36-13 advantage.
The T-Birds had missed their first 10 attempts from beyond the arc, but caught fire in the third quarter to get back into the game. They canned a trio of triples in just over a minute, with a pair from Jessica Hanson bookending one from Gabrielle Laguerta, to trim a 51-31 deficit to 51-40 in the blink of an eye.
The Cascades locked it down on defence at that point, holding UBC scoreless over the first five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. Maddy Gobeil capped a 10-0 run with a three-pointer to make it 68-48 with four and a half minutes left in regulation and essentially drain any suspense from the proceedings.
“We had a flat start and got ourselves into foul trouble,” UBC head coach Deb Huband noted afterward. “We got started on the wrong foot and they had a great start … bad start, foul trouble impacts the game from that point on. I thought they did a great job with tempo and attacking, taking advantage of us particularly in the first half.”
Parker sparked the Cascades’ transition attack, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and adding six rebounds and four steals. Forwards Taylor Claggett (16 points, nine rebounds, five assists) and Deanna Tuchscherer (15 points, 11 rebounds) also had big nights, Gobeil finished with 12 points, and defensive stopper Amanda Thompson posted a game-high +19 plus/minus rating.
Hanson and Keylyn Filewich posted 18 points apiece for UBC, but they were the lone T-Birds to score in double figures.
“We’re working hard defensively this year,” Al Tuchscherer said. “Pat (Lee, assistant coach) has come in and thrown some new ideas at the girls. It’s still a growth process at the defensive end of the floor, but the girls are starting to understand what we’re looking for there. I thought Taylor two nights in a row did a really good job battling Filewich.”
The Cascades hit the road next weekend to face the UNBC Timberwolves, while the Thunderbirds host the Trinity Western Spartans.