Coming off an upset loss to the UNBC Timberwolves on Friday, Kayli Sartori and the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team weren’t about to let it happen again – especially not in Al Tuchscherer’s 500th game as head coach of the Cascades.
Canada West scoring leader and Chilliwack native Sartori was a force of nature Saturday night, scoring a game-high 24 points in UFV’s 83-56 victory at the Envision Athletic Centre.
UFV shot 41.5 per cent from the floor and drew free throws at will. They took an eye-popping 39 free throws, with Sartori (12-for-13) and Taylor Claggett (9-for-12) leading the charge as the Cascades shot 82.1 per cent from the charity stripe.
They held the T-Wolves to 29.2 per cent shooting from the field, and out-rebounded the visitors 46-37.
“I told him (Tuchscherer) when we were walking out of the locker room (before the game) that there was no way we were losing,” Sartori revealed afterward. “We were going to get it done, and we were going to get it done pretty. And that’s what we did. It was an awesome night, it really was.
The Cascades opened a 22-15 lead at the end of the first quarter behind seven points from Sartori and two three-pointers from Chilliwack’s Kaitlyn McDonald, including a buzzer-beater.
They led 40-28 at half-time.
Five quick points from Claggett and another trey by McDonald constituted an 8-0 run late in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 25 points (61-36) and essentially draining any suspense from the proceedings.
Katie Brink made a major impact off the bench for the Cascades, posting 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds. Claggett finished with 11 points, and McDonald, Shayna Cameron (Chilliwack) and Sydney Williams had nine points apiece.
“This was a nice bounce-back, for sure,” Tuchscherer said. “And then to do it on a night like tonight, that was nice. It’s always nice to get a win, and it was a little bit of a milestone for our program, and that’s pretty cool.”
Tuchscherer has helmed the Cascades since 2002, and helped the program make the transition from Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) into Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in 2006.
He’s built the Cascades into a strong program in the Canada West conference, going to four straight Canada West Final Fours between 2011 and 2014, and winning the CIS national bronze medal in 2014.
With Saturday’s win, his all-time record at UFV is 310-190 (exhibition, regular season and playoffs).
Tuchscherer was presented with the game ball and a framed photo in a post-game ceremony with UFV president Dr. Mark Evered and past president Dr. Skip Bassford, who served in the role from 1998 to 2009 and whose tenure overlapped with Tuchscherer’s hiring as head coach.
The Cascades basketball teams head to Edmonton next weekend to face the MacEwan Griffins.
See ufvcascades.ca for more.