Cougars pull away late to edge Cascades in preseason

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team turned in a strong effort against one of the top teams in the nation, pushing the Regina Cougars to the limit in a 66-57 loss on Friday afternoon at a preseason tournament hosted by the University of Victoria.

The game was tied 57-57 with two and a half minutes to play, but Cougars fifth-year guard Katie Polischuk knocked down back-to-back threes to help Regina pull away in the late going.

Jessica Zawada had a solid performance for the Cascades against the Regina Cougars on Friday. (UFV Cascades file photo)

Jessica Zawada had a solid performance for the Cascades against the Regina Cougars on Friday. (UFV Cascades file photo)

Even so, Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer was heartened to see his team go toe-to-toe with an opponent expected to be near the top of the U Sports national rankings when the regular season opens next week.

“It was a big step forward today, for sure,” Tuchscherer said. “Two things today – we played with effort for 40 minutes, and we learned to play with some toughness. It was good to see us rewarded for that, forcing a tough team to play really hard to beat us. And the second thing was, in the third quarter we executed some things (offensively) and got to some secondary reads. It was good to see us have some success with that as well.”

Fourth-year forward Shayna Litman continued her fantastic preseason, leading the Cascades with 20 points. Kayli Sartori, last season’s Canada West scoring champ, was coming off an injury and played just 20 minutes, but still managed 15 points. Tuchscherer felt that rookie Jessica Zawada (five points) played probably her most confident, complete game of the preseason, and he was pleased with the defensive spark that Amelia Worrell gave the team off the bench.

The Cascades wrap up the preseason on Saturday against the Calgary Dinos at UVic (12 p.m., CARSA Performance Gym).

The UFV basketball programs open the Canada West regular season Nov. 4-5 at home against the Saskatchewan Huskies.

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