An explosive fourth quarter lifted the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 75-63 victory over the UNBC Timberwolves on Saturday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.
The Cascades, coming off a dramatic 59-55 triumph on Friday in the opener of the weekend set, found themselves trailing 52-49 heading into the fourth quarter of Saturday’s rematch. But the hosts quickly drained any suspense from the proceedings – they opened the final frame on a 19-2 run and cruised from there.
UFV (4-2) picked up its first weekend sweep of the season after beginning the Canada West campaign with splits vs. the Saskatchewan Huskies and Trinity Western Spartans. The T-Wolves fell to 1-7.
Kayli Sartori had a sparkling all-around performance – the reigning Canada West scoring champ finished just one assist shy of a triple-double, stuffing the stat sheet with 20 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and five steals. Taylor Claggett had a double-double for the second straight night, going for 15 points and 12 boards, and Sara Simovic (12 points) and Shayna Litman (12 points) also contributed offensively for the hosts.
UNBC centre Vasiliki Louka racked up a game-high 22 points, and Eleni Steriopoulou and Maria Mongomo registered 11 points apiece.
“I thought in the third quarter, we really got stagnant at both ends of the floor,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “We were really reacting to a lot of things, standing around watching the play. Between quarters, we really talked about getting more active again and being a little bit more assertive, particularly defensively.
“In the fourth quarter, our defence really created some difficult shots for them. They turned the ball over a few times, and we had some players make some big shots.”
The Cascades had fallen behind by 20 points early in the second quarter on Friday before rallying to win, and their start was much better on Saturday. They led 19-16 at the end of the first quarter, and 38-31 at half.
The third quarter, though, belonged to the T-Wolves – they out-scored the Cascades 22-11 in the frame. But UFV wrested control back decisively in the final stanza.
Sartori fell just shy of a triple-double for the second time in 2016. On Feb. 6, she was one rebound short (19 points, 10 assists, nine boards) in a win over UBC Okanagan.
“Kayli does so much for our squad – probably at this point, maybe a little bit too much,” Tuchscherer said of his fifth-year guard/forward, a U Sports second team All-Canadian last season. “She’s our primary ball handler at times, our playmaker, and then we ask her to score a little bit and defend a little bit. She’s got a big role on our team, and she usually comes through for us.”
The Cascades wrap up the fall semester with road games vs. the Brandon Bobcats on Friday and Saturday. The Timberwolves host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, also a Friday-Saturday set.