Cascades women’s hoopsters heat up late to stop Spartans

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team reeled off an 18-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to spark a 60-47 victory over the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The Spartans led 40-37 with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter following a Kayla Gordon layup, but the host Cascades caught fire at that point. Taylor Claggett kick-started the run with an and-one layup, and Kayli Sartori scored eight of her game-high 23 points during that stretch as UFV cruised to the double-digit victory.

The Cascades (2-1) and Spartans (2-1) complete the home-and-home set on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, with tip-off set for 5 p.m.

The first quarter was played at a breakneck pace – the two teams traded baskets in the early going, and the Cascades led 21-19 at the end of the frame.

The offences cooled off somewhat in the second quarter – UFV’s lead was 33-29 at halftime – but the Spartans found some traction in the third and led by as many as four points before the Cascades caught fire late. Along with the offensive explosion, UFV held TWU scoreless for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Victoria Jacobse drives past TWU's Mariah Perry.

Victoria Jacobse drives past TWU’s Mariah Perry.

“To start the game, I was a little bit concerned – I don’t think we’re at the stage where we can really be in one of those run-and-gun type games,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “That’s not really sustainable for us. That was not the game we wanted to play. We settled down a little bit, and our D got better as the game wore on. But our offensive execution, we didn’t really find anything until late in the third quarter.”

In addition to her 23 points, Sartori racked up nine rebounds and five steals. Claggett chipped in with 14 points, while Sara Simovic notched 10 points and seven assists. Tuchscherer also praised the play of rookie guard Amanda Thompson, who was “fantastic” defensively off the bench in the coach’s estimation.

Jessie Brown paced the Spartans with 13 points, and Gordon scored 12.

“I’m not really sure why we couldn’t play D early – maybe just getting caught up in playing a crosstown rival with a lot of familiar faces,” Tuchscherer said. “We’re a long ways away offensively, and that shows every game. Tonight, luckily we ended up finding something late in the game that allowed us to go on a little bit of a run. Obviously it was a pretty close game – I think the score kind of flatters us a little bit.”

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