UFV’s Alexis Worrell battle against TWU’s Jenna Gill during Canada West action on Saturday (Jan. 22) (UFV Cascades photo)

UFV’s Alexis Worrell battle against TWU’s Jenna Gill during Canada West action on Saturday (Jan. 22) (UFV Cascades photo)

UFV Cascades split weekend set with TWU Spartans

Men’s and women’s basketball teams have up and down weekend in 2022 Abbotsford debut

A disappointing 2022 home debut that saw the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades men’s and women’s basketball teams both fall to TWU Spartans, saw the teams bounce back on Saturday (Jan. 22) to split the two game set.

The men’s team ran into a red-hot Mason Bourcier on Friday (Jan. 21), as the Spartans guard registered just the 18th triple double in Canada West history to lead TWU to a 97-87 win.

Bourcier posted 15 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists to lead TWU to the win. The Spartans also had a strong game from JaQualyn Gilbreath, who collected 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists. TWU shot a scorching 50 per cent from the field.

“Ultimately, Mason is a competitor,” UFV head coach Joe Enevoldson said afterward. “I thought we did a good job on him early – he picked up two quick fouls, and they’re obviously a much better basketball team with him on the floor being a catalyst.

“You’re not going to stop a guy like Mason, but you’re going to try to slow him down as much as possible. We’ve got to keep him out of the paint … and that’s something I don’t think we did a good job of all night long.”

UFV’s top performer on Friday was Jake Willemsen, who scored a team-high 16 points.

The women had a similar story, as they fell behind 14-2 early and failed to make up ground. They eventually lost 70-47.

“I don’t think our approach to this game was right at all,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer summarized afterward. “You spend nine days reading about how awesome you are, and then you come into the game kind of full of yourself. And the other team, all they’ve been thinking about is how they’re going to kick your butt. Great teams don’t approach games like that. It’s a lesson our players are going to have to learn, and they learned it the hard way tonight.”

TWU had balanced scoring with five different players reaching double-digits in points. Nicole Fransson led the way with 17, while Abbotsford product Jayden Gill added 14.

UFV was led by Julia Tuchscherer with 18 points. The Cascades were outrebounded 44-32 in the loss.

The men turned on the defence big time on Saturday, holding TWU to 38.3 per cent shooting in a 102-88 win. The 102 points is also the most scored by the Cascades this season and the highest total since a 107-point output against the Spartans on Jan. 18, 2020.

The Cascades had a strong game from Jordyn Sekhon, who collected 16 points and 11 rebounds. The W.J. Mouat grad went four-of-six from beyond the arc. Both Vick Toor and Kyle Claggett had 19 points apiece.

Bourcier had another triple double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a losing cause.

“I thought we did a great job defensively, just understanding their personnel a little bit better,” Enevoldson said afterward. “We made a few subtle adjustments, but nothing extraordinary by any stretch. We just wanted to make sure we got a handle on Q (Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath), and we got a handle on Bourcier getting down the pipe a little bit. Obviously loading up on them, their dribble penetration angles become a lot different. I thought we did a good job of that, especially in the second quarter.”

The men now sit in third place in the West division with a record of 5-4.

The women also ramped up the defensive intensity on Saturday, downing the Spartans 58-39. UFV led 11-2 after the first quarter and never trailed in the game.

Maddy Gobeil led the way for the Cascades, with 17 points and nine rebounds. Madison Draayers also had a solid game off the bench with 11 points and three rebounds in limited time on the court. Gill was the top scorer for TWU with 16 points.

“We challenged our players to re-establish our identity tonight,” said Coach Tuchscherer. “They responded, for sure, at the defensive end of the floor. They were solid in a lot of ways – much more active defensively, their communication was much better, and we rebounded the ball better. A lot of really positive things defensively.”

The women rank second in the West with a 9-2 record.

The teams next travel to Prince George for games against the UNBC Timberwolves on Friday (Jan. 28) and Saturday (Jan. 29). The next scheduled home games occur on Feb. 18 and 19 when the Victoria Vikes come to Abbotsford.

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UFV’s Dario Lopez battles for the ball against TWU on Friday (Jan. 21) (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

UFV’s Dario Lopez battles for the ball against TWU on Friday (Jan. 21) (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)