Pandas edge Cascades in preseason action

Shayna Litman had an outstanding outing on Saturday, racking up 26 points. (UFV Athletics file photo)

The Alberta Pandas edged the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team 69-61 in exhibition action on Friday evening in Calgary.

The game was part of a preseason tournament hosted by the Calgary Dinos, and while the result didn’t go the Cascades’ way, it did demonstrate that the team is making progress as it gears up for its Canada West regular-season openers next week. Back on Oct. 7, the Pandas had defeated the Cascades by a 69-49 score.

“We did some things a lot better tonight,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer noted. “It was far from perfect, but there were definitely some good signs there for us.

“We threw a lot of different things at our team this week and even at today’s shoot, and I thought they executed the game plan well. We were able to execute a lot of our offensive stuff, and I thought we had a good compete level.”

The Pandas built an eight-point lead at halftime (37-29), and stretched it to double digits in the third quarter. The Cascades hung tough and were able to close the gap, but Alberta was able to fend them off down the stretch.

Shayna Litman had a terrific outing for the Cascades – the fifth-year forward racked up a game-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. Taylor Claggett (12 points, five rebounds) and Sara Simovic (12 points, 4-of-8 from three-point range, four assists) also chipped in offensively, and rookie forward Katelyn Mallette notched six points and a team-high six rebounds off the bench.

The Pandas had four players in double figures: Emma Kary (13 points), Jenna Harpe (12 points), Elle Hendershot (11 points, 10 boards) and Megan Tywoniuk (11 points).

Tuchscherer termed Litman’s performance “fantastic.”

“Her full game was on display – it was fun to watch,” he said, noting that Litman scored on a variety of midrange jumpers, post moves, and drives to the basket.

The Cascades wrap up the Calgary event against the host Dinos, with tip-off set for noon Mountain time on Sunday.

The UFV basketball teams open the Canada West regular season Oct. 27-28 at UBC, and host their home openers Nov. 3-4 vs. the Mount Royal Cougars.

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