The hot-starting, hot-shooting Winnipeg Wesmen prevailed in decisive fashion on Friday evening, knocking off the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 69-55 in Canada West women’s basketball action.
Antoinette Miller, the reigning Canada West player of the year and the current U SPORTS national scoring leader, lit the fuse for the visiting Wesmen at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre. The fifth-year guard from Phoenix, Ariz. poured in a game-high 31 points. Among her output were a trio of three-pointers, which was characteristic of Winnipeg’s shooting performance – they hit 11-of-24 attempts from beyond the arc (45.8 per cent).
As for the hosts, a slow start did them in. The Cascades found themselves trailing by 20 points in the second quarter, and every time they looked to mount a rally, the Wesmen seemed to answer with a triple.
UFV (2-5) and Winnipeg (3-4) renew hostilities on Saturday at the EFAC (5 p.m. tip-off, webcast at CanadaWest.tv).
“Our approach to tonight’s game was extremely poor,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “We played with no toughness, particularly in the first quarter. We were looking for easy ways out all over the court tonight, and we’re simply not going to win any games against any level of competition, let alone a team like Winnipeg.
“Tonight was a shocking performance, to me – just how unaware we were of the threats on the floor.”
The Cascades struggled offensively throughout the first half, while the Wesmen couldn’t miss. With the clock ticking down at the end of the first quarter, Miller tossed up a contested fadeaway from well beyond the arc to beat the buzzer, and it found nothing but net to put the visitors up 22-11. Winnipeg opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run to stretch the lead to 20, and they led 41-23 at halftime.
UFV came out of the locker room with some energy and opened the third on a 6-0 run. But the Wesmen responded with a three from Robyn Boulanger, plus the foul, to reclaim the momentum, and they cruised from there.
Boulanger racked up 18 points (4-of-6 from three) for Winnipeg, and Chelsea Epsenberg scored nine points off the bench.
Cascades forwards Shayna Litman and Taylor Claggett each registered 17 points and eight rebounds, though only six of their combined points came in the first half. Sara Simovic scored nine points, and Jessica Zawada scored eight off the bench.