A stretch of red-hot shooting in the third quarter broke the game open and boosted the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 60-46 victory over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday evening.
The Cascades, coming off a tense 57-56 win on Friday over the WolfPack, didn’t have to sweat it out down the stretch in Saturday’s rematch at the Envision Athletic Centre.
That was thanks to their third-quarter pyrotechnics – they outscored TRU 25-13 in the frame and led by as many as 20 points.
Shayna Cameron celebrated her Senior Night in style – the Cascades’ lone fifth-year player racked up a game-high 18 points to go with five assists, four rebounds and four steals, and was subsequently honoured in a post-game ceremony.
Katie Brink and Kayli Sartori both chipped in with 14 points apiece for the hosts, while the WolfPack’s offensive struggles were illustrated in the fact they didn’t have a single player score in double figures. Kassie Colonna (nine points) and Taiysa Worsfold (eight points) were the offensive leaders for TRU, who shot just 23.6 per cent from the field as a team.
UFV (11-7) now holds a one-game lead over the UBC Okanagan Heat (10-8) in the race for the Explorer Division’s third and final playoff spot, and they can punch their post-season ticket by winning one of their two games against the Mount Royals Cougars in Calgary next weekend.
The WolfPack (13-5) fall two games back of the MacEwan Griffins (15-3) in the race for first in the Explorer. They wrap up the regular season at home next weekend vs. UBCO.
“We’ve been talking about being in playoff mode for a few weeks here now and had our backs against the wall, and I think it’s focused us, more than anything,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said, reflecting on the weekend sweep.
“I didn’t think that we played great tonight – I thought Thompson Rivers did a lot of things that they’re really good at. They hammered us on the boards all night long, and they got way more possessions than we did. Honestly, they just didn’t hit shots tonight, and we did. In a lot of senses, they probably outplayed us tonight and stuck more to their game plan than we did. But we just ended up hitting some shots.”
Saturday’s game got off to a sloppy start – the two teams combined for 17 turnovers in the first quarter, which ended with TRU leading 15-12.
Sartori, after going scoreless in the opening frame with five turnovers, came alive with nine points in the second quarter to spark her team to a 30-23 halftime lead.
The Cascades took over in the third quarter, reeling off a 12-1 run capped by a Cameron three-pointer. A pair of subsequent Sydney Williams triples boosted the lead to 52-32 with two minutes left in the frame.
“Shayna came out aggressive and hit some shots early, and was dangerous all night long,” Tuchscherer said of Cameron, who transferred to UFV this season after four years with the PacWest’s Quest Kermodes. “It’s a good send-off for her in her last (regular season) home game. It’s been an honour to coach her for a year. It would have been nice to have her for a couple more years, but we’re lucky we got her for one.”
Tuchscherer also lauded the play of Brink, who shot 6-for-14 and hauled down eight rebounds while spearheading the Cascades’ stingy defensive effort.
“Katie was fantastic for us both nights,” he said. “When she’s playing that way, she’s a force offensively and defensively, and that really gives our team a different look.”