The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team got huge performances from its twin towers – Sarah Wierks and Katie Brink – as they completed a weekend sweep of the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday.
Third-year power forward Brink (6’1″) poured in a career-high 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting in the 77-65 victory at the Envision Athletic Centre, gashing the Heat defence with a mix of gritty baseline drives and smooth mid-range jumpers.
Fifth-year centre Wierks (6’2″), who moved into second place on the all-time Canada West rebounding list in Friday’s 70-67 win over UBC-O, put together one of the most impressive stat lines of her career. She had a huge double-double with 22 points and 19 rebounds, and added seven blocked shots and four steals.
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve really tried to learn how to get that chemistry between us, because I think we can be really dominant together,” Brink said. “She’s an awesome player, and I’m so blessed to be able to play with her.”
The Heat have played the Cascades tough all year, and Saturday’s game was no different. UFV raced out to an early 15-2 lead, but UBC-O finished the first quarter on a 14-2 run of their own, and they built a 29-25 lead at halftime.
The Cascades got off to a good start in the third quarter and surged ahead 49-46 heading into the fourth, and they closed out the Heat thanks to a 13-3 run midway through the final frame.
UFV improved to 8-6, good for third in the Explorer Division, while UBC-O, which got 19 points from Jessica Jazdarehee, fell to 4-10.
The Cascades hit the road to face the Mount Royal Cougars this coming weekend; the Heat host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.
Brink, who was out with an ankle injury for the better part of two months and missed four games in late November and early January, said it felt good to score a career high.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle for me,” she said. “But coming back and to have my teammates and coaches supporting me, it was great. It feels good to be finally playing the way that I can play, and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer was pleased with his team’s execution down the stretch.
“We played a little bit of a high-low game with Katie and Sarah and had quite a bit of success with that, so that was really positive,” he said. “And then defensively, we got a few key stops and some turnovers that led to easy baskets.”
Wierks’s per-game rebounding average of 14.5 is not only tops in Canada West, it’s the best mark in the entire CIS by a huge margin (second place is TRU’s Michelle Bos at 11.9). If she can maintain that average, Wierks would tie Jodi Evans (Calgary Dinos 1990-91) for the highest per-game rebounding average in Canada West history.