The Saskatchewan Huskies reeled off a 19-0 run bridging the first and second quarters to break the game open, igniting a 78-55 victory over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Game 1 of their Canada West quarter-final series in Saskatoon on Thursday.
The Cascades, seeded No. 8 in the conference, had a solid start to the contest, going ahead 16-10 in the first quarter after Kayli Sartori absorbed contact on her way to the hoop, hit the shot, and swished the ensuing free throw.
But the No. 1-seeded Huskies limited UFV to just two points over the next nine minutes of play, and surged to a 46-27 halftime lead.
Fraser Valley was able to slow down the Huskies’ offence in the second half, but weren’t able to get back within striking distance. Saskatchewan led 64-40 after the third, and the Cascades outscored the Huskies 15-14 in the final quarter.
“I thought we hit a wall real early,” said UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer, whose charges were coming off a gruelling first-round series vs. the Calgary Dinos. “We had a good start, and a couple things didn’t go our way – they hit a couple shots and got right back in the game. We just weren’t able to turn the tide at all . . . we were unfocused and scattered, and our attention to detail wasn’t there.
“Saskatchewan just continued to play well. They got better as the game went on, and we didn’t.”
Shayna Litman and Sartori combined for 41 of the Cascades’ 55 points in the game, scoring 21 and 20, respectively. Litman also recorded eight rebounds, while Sartori added four assists and two steals.
Sabine Dukate paced the Huskies with 21 points, while Madeline Humbert’s 10 points off the bench included seven during the pivotal 19-0 stretch in the first half.
The two teams shot similar percentages from the field – the Huskies were at 43.8 per cent while the Cascades hit 40.0 per cent – but the difference was stark from beyond the arc. Saskatchewan went 10-for-23 from the land beyond (43.5 per cent), while UFV came up empty at 0-for-7. The Huskies also got the better of the Cascades on the glass by a 38-21 margin.
UFV looks to extend its season in Game 2 on Friday, which tips off at 6:30 p.m. Central time (4:30 p.m. Pacific). Game 3, if necessary, goes Saturday at 2 p.m. Central.
“Give Saskatchewan full credit – they looked sharp and they looked prepared, and they took things away from us tonight,” Tuchscherer said.
“We’re going to need some kids to step up tomorrow, and we’re going to need more of a contribution from someone other than Shayna and Kayli. Whether that’s some of our other starters or some of our kids off the bench, we need them to be dangerous and we need them to be better defensively.”
– with files from Nicole Betker / Huskie Athletics