Williams’s hot hand lifts Cascades to big road win over Dinos

Syd Williams knocked down seven three-pointers in a road win over Calgary on Friday. (UFV Cascades file photo)

A red-hot shooting performance from Sydney Williams sparked the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 69-60 victory over the Calgary Dinos on the road on Friday evening.

Williams, the Cascades’ third-year guard from Langley, B.C., swished seven three-pointers, accounting for all of her game-high 21 points from beyond the arc and enabling the Cascades to earn a weekend split in Calgary.

The Dinos had won the opener of the two-game set on Thursday by a nearly identical score (69-59), and the two teams emerge from the series with matching 8-4 records, tied for fifth in Canada West.

“Syd was fantastic tonight at both ends of the floor,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer enthused. “We gave her the task of defending (Dinos leading scorer) Brianna Ghali, and I thought she did a great job of slowing her down in transition. And then, she had one of those flashback Syd games where she had a lot of confidence in her shot and hit some huge ones for us.”

The Cascades got off to a scorching start, opening the game on an 11-0 run which featured five points from Shayna Litman and triples from Williams and Sara Simovic. The Dinos settled down, though, and cut the deficit to 15-12 at the end of the quarter. Then they blitzed UFV 23-6 in the second to take a 35-21 lead into halftime.

After hitting the early trey, Williams finished 1-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half. It was a different story after the break – she went 6-for-8 the rest of the way, and spearheaded a phenomenal third quarter which saw the Cascades outscore the Dinos 32-16 to get back into the game.

UFV locked it down on defence in the fourth quarter – after Ghali’s three-pointer with five minutes remaining to knot the score 60-60, the hosts would not muster another point. It was Williams, appropriately, who inserted the dagger, knocking down a corner triple with 1:40 remaining to make it 67-60.

It was the Dinos’ first conference loss at home, and the Cascades’ second win on the road.

“I wasn’t very pleased at halftime – we were really stagnant offensively, and when we get that way we’re not effective at all,” Tuchscherer said. “Kayli (Sartori, Cascades’ leading scorer) ran into a little bit of foul trouble as well, and nobody really stepped up. We had an honest conversation at halftime, and the girls responded well. We came out of the backcourt with a little bit more pace, and we had people moving in our offence.

“A split here this weekend is huge for us. To drop two would have given us a little bit of separation from that first group, and we’d like to stay in the hunt with those top teams in the conference.”

Litman’s 16 points included nine in the first quarter, and Simovic (11 points) and Taylor Claggett (10 points, eight boards) also scored in double figures. Sartori was limited to eight points, but she found other ways to contribute, notching eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Erin McIntosh paced the Dinos with 18 points.

“Kayli’s really banged up right now, but I thought she did what she had to do tonight,” Tuchscherer said. “She facilitated, made big free throws down the stretch, and she was always dangerous.”

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