Cascades lock it down on defence in win over Griffins

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team kicked off its final home series of the fall semester in style, earning a big win over the MacEwan Griffins.

The Cascades (2-1) relied on some pivotal three-point shooting and strong defence to hand the Griffins (2-1) their first loss of the season by a 72-61 score on Friday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.

MacEwan, who came into the game shooting 47 per cent from the field and averaging 94.5 points per game, hit on just 33.3 per cent of their shots at the EAC.

Syd Williams posted 12 points in Friday's win over MacEwan.

Syd Williams posted 12 points in Friday’s win over MacEwan.

The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday, tipping off at 5 p.m. on the UFV Abbotsford campus.

“We’re really respectful of MacEwan – they came into the league last year and really did a job on us,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said, alluding to the fact the Griffins went a perfect 4-0 against UFV in 2014-15. “They’re well-coached and have some real quality veteran players, so they’re not sneaking up on anybody this year.

“I’m proud of the girls for how they executed the game plan,” he added. “They got gritty on at the defensive end of the floor and played hard, and played offence how we wanted to play.

“We’ve got a long ways to go, but it’s our closest to (a consistent) 40 minutes that we’ve probably had this year.”

The Cascades carried a one-point advantage into the second quarter, but a 9-0 run late in the half, paired with some tepid shooting from the Griffins, allowed UFV to take a 29-25 lead at halftime.

UFV opened up a 14-point lead on the visitors in the third quarter, as Kayli Sartori dropped 11 of her game-high 25 points.

They pushed the advantage to 20 points with a stretch of red-hot shooting from distance. Sydney Williams nailed treys on back-to-back possessions to end the third quarter, and Sartori and Shayna Cameron followed with triples of their own to open the fourth.

MacEwan wrestled back some momentum with a 14-3 run, led by Kendall Lydon and Paige Knull, but ultimately the deficit would prove to be too much.

“We stuck to the game plan and we got it done as a team,” said Sartori, who also hauled in a team-high nine rebounds. “Without every player on the team, we wouldn’t have been able to do it tonight.

“Ever since I’ve been playing here, we’ve been a defensive squad, and we’re only going to be a defensive squad. . . . We win games because we can shut teams down, and when we’re not doing that, we’re not winning games. Al does a good job of making sure we’re prepared.”

Cameron’s 18 points was second only to Sartori’s output, while Williams added 12 points, going 4-for-13 from three-point range. Rookie forward Taylor Claggett (11 points) also scored in double figures, and drew praise from Tuchscherer for her strong defence against MacEwan’s high-scoring all-star Megan Wood.

Wood still managed a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds, while Lydon put 13 points up on the board for the Griffins. Kelly Fagan also had a strong game, collecting eight boards and adding nine points.

– by Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff

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