A shorthanded University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team forth a gritty effort on the road Saturday, but the Lethbridge Pronghorns fended them off down the stretch to prevail 82-74.
With Veronica Kobes unavailable due to injury and Taylor Claggett going down during Friday’s 75-56 loss to the Pronghorns, UFV bench boss Al Tuchscherer had just eight healthy players at his disposal for Saturday’s rematch.
In spite of that, the Cascades hung with the first-place Pronghorns throughout, with the hosts finally pulling away in the dying minutes.
Lethbridge (10-2) picked up its Canada West-leading 10th win behind 23 points from Kacie Bosch, while UFV fell to 4-8 despite a 21-point outburst from ex-Pronghorn Sara Simovic.
“I think we can all look at this game feeling happy with our bounce-back tonight, happy with our effort and compete level, and really, even how we executed,” Tuchscherer said. “I think the difference was, we made a number of key mistakes down the stretch that are just characteristic of a young team.”
The Pronghorns led 19-16 after the first quarter and 44-33 at halftime, but the Cascades opened the third quarter on an 11-4 run – capped by an and-one layup by Kate Head – to trim the deficit to 48-44.
Lethbridge responded with a 12-2 surge of their own, but UFV mounted a fourth-quarter push that saw them draw to within 73-68 after Amanda Thompson’s trey with 2:44 left. Cascades guard Victoria Jacobse stole a Pronghorn pass on the ensuing possession, but her driving layup on the fast break missed, and she fouled Bosch on a three-pointer on the next trip. Bosch made two of three from the charity stripe to push the lead to 75-68, and later on, she swished a triple to make it 80-72 and effectively snuff UFV’s comeback effort.
Simovic, who spent the first two seasons of her post-secondary hoops career with the Pronghorns, scored 16 of her team-best 21 points in the second half. Thompson also stepped up in Claggett’s absence, scoring in double figures for the first time in Canada West play this season. Her 15 points came in exceedingly efficient fashion – she hit 4-of-5 from the field including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Shayna Litman (12 points, seven rebounds) and Katelyn Mallette (10 points) also chipped in offensively for the Cascades.
More than half of Bosch’s team-high output came at the free throw line, where she was 12-of-16. Zoe Dahl notched 21 points for the hosts, going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
It was the last conference game of 2017 for the Cascades, who return to action in the new year with a home-and-home set vs. the Trinity Western Spartans. The two programs face off on Thursday, Jan. 4 at the Langley Events Centre, and return to UFV’s Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Friday, Jan. 5.