The UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team salvaged a weekend split at the Envision Athletic Centre, defeating the host UFV Cascades 63-59 on Saturday evening.
The Heat delivered the inaugural Canada West regular season victory for rookie head coach Claire Meadows, and both teams sit at 1-1 after opening weekend.
Emily Kanester paced the Heat with 17 points, including three triples. Chloe Kennedy and Claire Elliott rounded out UBCO’s double-digit scorers with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Kayli Sartori lead UFV in scoring with 17 points and added five assists on the night, while guard Shayna Cameron followed up her 27-point breakout performance in Friday’s 68-50 win over the Heat with 16 points and five helpers of her own.
Cascades first-year forward Taylor Claggett was a force in the paint and posted her second career CIS double-double in as many games, swallowing up 14 rebounds to go along with her 14 points.
“I didn’t think we came out with the same energy and the defensive presence that we had last night,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “Okanagan really took advantage of that, they came out they were excited to play. They made some tough shots early and got a bit of a lead, and then we were playing from behind the rest of the game.”
Both teams put 15 points on the board in the first quarter, but an 8-0 run for UBCO midway through the second gave them a 30-22 lead. The Cascades managed to cut the deficit to six before heading to the locker room with the Heat owning a 34-28 advantage.
The Heat came out of the break and extended their lead to 12, but the Cascades would spend the rest of the quarter chipping away at the deficit and entered the final stanza down by five.
Sartori gave the Cascades their first lead since the opening frame with six minutes remaining in regulation, but UBCO’s Elliott would tie the game on a clutch three-pointer just minutes later. Some key defensive stops by the Heat allowed them to regain an advantage they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
“There’s a lot of new faces in our lineup and we learned a tough lesson tonight. Come to the game prepared and execute, and if you don’t do that, you’re going to lose in Canada West,” explained Tuchscherer.
Tuchscherer had praise for rookie standout Claggett, who has carried the momentum from a strong preseason into conference play.
“Taylor has had a great start to her career here, she battles really hard,” he said. “There were a couple of things for her to learn from, [but] she’s not going to be making those mistakes moving forward. We’re very excited about what she’s bringing to the table.”
The Cascades now look ahead to a home series vs. the MacEwan Griffins next weekend. Game 1 tips off on Friday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. at the EAC, followed by a 5 p.m. start on Saturday.
The Heat host their home openers next Friday (6 p.m. start) and Saturday (5 p.m.) vs. the UNBC Timberwolves.
– by Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff