The Cascades women’s hoopsters had already clinched home-court advantage to open the playoffs, but they still felt they had something to prove in their regular season finale against TWU.
Two weeks ago, the Spartans upset the Cascades 79-51 at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. UFV, ranked No. 10 in the nation, put forth a better effort on Thursday, pulling away down the stretch for a 74-65 win.
“How we played a couple weeks ago wasn’t how we wanted to play,” noted Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer. “I think it was important for us to come back and rebound from that game. Finishing the season strong was a big thing.”
The Spartans reeled off a 23-6 run bridging the first and second quarters to build a 13-point lead, but the Cascades responded with a 9-0 run of their own to get back into it.
TWU led 55-53 midway through the fourth quarter, but UFV finished the game on an 11-0 spurt to seal the victory.
In the process, the Cascades (12-6) dealt a huge blow to the Spartans’ post-season aspirations. At 8-10, they’re currently occupying the fourth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division, but they need a huge amount of help from other teams to hang onto that spot.
“They were dominating the boards in the first half, but I felt we really turned the tide in the third quarter,” Tuchscherer said. “Down the stretch, our D really clamped down, which I think has become one of the trademarks of our team.”
Aieisha Luyken, with 19 points, paced the UFV attack, while Tessa Klassen (15 points) and Alexa McCarthy (12) also chipped in offensively. Spartans forward Holly Strom racked up a game-high 20 points.
Like the UFV men, the Cascades women will host the Prairie Division’s third-place team in a best-of-three series at the Envision Athletic Centre, Feb. 23-25. The Calgary Dinos, at 13-5, have the inside track on that slot.