Kayli Sartori scored 24 points to claim the Canada West scoring title by a single point as the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team defeated the Mount Royal Cougars 82-54 on Saturday evening in Calgary.
It was the regular-season finale for both teams, and the Cascades (13-7) earned their sixth straight victory. UFV finished third in the Explorer Division, while Mount Royal (2-18) was sixth.
“We got a better start tonight and opened up a bit of a lead early, and kind of maintained that the rest of the game,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “We were solid at both ends of the floor tonight. Now it’s on to prepping for next week.”
The Cascades open the playoffs at home – they host the UBC Thunderbirds (9-11) in a best-of-three first-round series this week. Games run Friday (6 p.m. tip-off), Saturday (6 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m., if necessary) at the Envision Athletic Centre.
Sartori came into Saturday’s action trailing Megan Wood of the MacEwan Griffins by 13 points in the conference scoring race. She turned in a fantastic performance, shooting 8-of-13 from the field, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line en route to her game-high point total, and added six rebounds and five assists.
Wood, meanwhile, scored 10 points in Explorer Division-leading MacEwan’s 75-60 victory over the UNBC Timberwolves. That gave Sartori the scoring title by the slimmest of margins – she amassed 368 points in conference play (18.4 points per game) to Wood’s 367 (18.35 ppg).
Sartori, a graduate of Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Secondary, becomes the third Cascade to claim the Canada West women’s basketball scoring crown. Jane Meadwell achieved the feat in 2009-10, averaging 19.5 points per game, and Sarah Wierks topped the conference scoring chart in 2014-15 with 19.2 points per game.
UFV led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter on Saturday, and seized control with a 9-0 run to open the second. Four different players scored baskets during that dominant stretch.
The Cascades got the lead up to 20 points midway through the third quarter, and they cruised from there.
Katie Brink had a terrific outing for UFV, posting 15 points and nine rebounds, and Kaitlyn McDonald came off the bench to pour in 12 points in 16 minutes, going 4-for-6 from three-point range. Taylor Claggett hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds to go with her eight points, as the Cascades out-rebounded Mount Royal 52-29.
Katie Waring drilled a trio of three-pointers to pace the Cougars with 15 points.
“I think it’s important to have a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs,” Tuchscherer said, reflecting on his team’s six-game win streak to finish the regular season. “You can’t really replicate playoff basketball, but you want to be feeling good about yourself going into playoffs, that’s for sure.”