Vikes win board battle, beat Cascades 68-57

Sara Simovic (left) scored nine points for the Cascades in Friday’s loss.

Big nights from Jenna Bugiardini and Amira Giannattasio and a collective dominance on the offensive boards powered the Victoria Vikes to a 68-57 victory over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Canada West women’s basketball action on Friday.

Fifth-year forward Bugiardini racked up a huge double-double (22 points, 13 rebounds) and third-year guard Giannattasio counted a pair of back-breaking fourth-quarter treys among her 15 points.

The Cascades had four starters score in double figures – Kayli Sartori (12 points), Sydney Williams (11), Shayna Litman (10) and Taylor Claggett (10 points, 10 rebounds) – shot 42.1 per cent from the field while limiting the Vikes to 31.2 per cent. Those shooting numbers would typically add up to a victory for the home side.

But while Victoria’s overall margin on the boards was a modest 47-44, their prowess on the offensive glass and their superior attention to detail in taking care of the basketball paved the way to the double-digit win. The visitors hauled down 20 offensive rebounds to gain extra possessions – the Cascades collected just eight such caroms – and had just 10 turnovers compared to 20 for UFV.

The Cascades (10-7, eighth in Canada West) and Vikes (12-5, sixth) renew hostilities on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre.

“It was probably our weakest performance of the year,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “I didn’t think we’d be at this point of the season where we’d have to be talking to our team about competing and effort. It’s super-disappointing that we would approach a game like this.

“Give Vic credit, they went and got them, but for us to give up 20 offensive rebounds is absolutely ridiculous. And that trend didn’t wane as a the game went on.”

The Vikes reeled off a 12-0 run bridging the first and second quarters to seize a 14-point lead (26-12), but the Cascades responded with an 11-2 run of their own to end the frame and cut the deficit to 32-28 at halftime.

UFV stayed within striking distance throughout the third and for much of the fourth, but the Vikes’ relentlessness on the offensive glass stalled the Cascades’ momentum time and again. Giannattasio swished triples on back-to-back possessions midway through the fourth to push the lead back to 14 points (62-48) and UFV never threatened again.

BOUNCE PASSES: Saturday is Senior Night for Cascades fifth-year standout Sartori, along with Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon from the men’s team. An on-court ceremony will be held immediately following the women’s game, before the men’s teams warm up.

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The University of the Fraser Valley is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō peoples. The Stó:lō have an intrinsic relationship with what they refer to as S’olh Temexw (Our Sacred Land); therefore, we express our gratitude and respect for the honour of living and working in this territory.

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