Two nights after being held largely in check by the Trinity Western Spartans, Taylor Claggett bounced back in a big way to lift her UFV Cascades to a 77-60 triumph in the rematch.
Playing at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Saturday night, senior forward Claggett exploded for 26 points, 16 rebounds and four assists as the Cascades wrapped up a sweep of their local rival.
UFV was coming off a 72-61 victory on Thursday in Langley to open the home-and-home set, but Claggett had been limited to a season-low 10 points in that contest. She was comprehensively dominant on Saturday, going 7-for-10 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line as UFV improved to 10-4 in Canada West play. TWU fell to 3-11.
“Taylor’s been doing that her entire career,” marveled Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer, whose charges raced out to 19-point lead in the first half. “I thought we were really ready to go tonight. We just built from the defensive end of the floor, and we ended up having a few nice offensive spurts that led to a pretty nice first half for us.”
Claggett was on fire from the opening tip. UFV’s all-time leading scorer racked up 18 points in the first half as the hosts built leads of 23-10 and 43-24 at the first and second quarter breaks.
The Spartans hung tough, though. After outscoring UFV 20-15 in the third quarter, they surged early in the fourth, getting the deficit back to single digits (64-56) after a triple from Kianna Wiens and a jumper from Nicole Fransson in quick succession.
The Cascades righted themselves, though, and Victoria Jacobse and Nikki Cabuco combined to insert the dagger. After Jacobse slashed to the rim for a layup, Cabuco snuck in and stole the ensuing inbounds pass, laying it back in to make it 76-60 with less than two minutes left in regulation.
“Credit to them for just really battling to the end,” Tuchscherer said of the Spartans. “In the fourth quarter, the outcome was still in question. They have a really solid young core group of kids there who really pushed us tonight.”
Cabuco finished with 10 points for the Cascades, and Deanna Tuchscherer and Amanda Thompson scored seven apiece.
Fransson paced the Spartans with 20 points and 17 boards, Jolene Vlieg had 14 points, and Wiens scored 11.
“As a young team, when what has worked for us in past games isn’t working, we don’t stick with it until it starts working,” TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul analyzed. “I think we tried to change our looks and how we tried to score, and I think that just led to a lot of missed shots and frustrated offence, which then flowed into not-great defence.
“We kind of lost our way a little bit in that first half, but I was really proud of the second half. We pushed back, and our shots started dropping. But by that time, we were already down by too much.”
The Cascades basketball teams hit the road this coming week to face the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary, while the Spartans host the Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas.