The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team picked up a massive road victory on Friday evening, defeating the Thompson Rivers WolfPack 59-53 in Kamloops.
Taylor Claggett had a huge night for the Cascades, racking up 17 points and 16 rebounds – both game-high totals – as UFV snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 5-10 in Canada West play. The host WolfPack fell to 7-8.
The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday evening in Kamloops (5 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).
“The girls played together and had a little bit of faith in each other, which we haven’t always played with this season,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer analyzed afterward. “We had a couple players step up who don’t normally give us that sort of production, so it was good to see.”
The Cascades got off to a less-than-promising start – the WolfPack raced out to a double-digit advantage behind some gritty work on the offensive glass and led 21-9 at the end of the first quarter.
UFV point guard Kate Head sparked a rally to open the second. She stole the ball on back-to-back TRU possessions and turned up-court to set up fast-break layups for teammates Shayna Litman and Sara Simovic. Head capped a 13-1 run with a runner in the lane, knotting the score 22-22. The WolfPack, though, found some traction and took a 30-26 lead into the break.
The Cascades opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run, taking their first lead of the night on a Litman jump shot. Later in the frame, five straight points from Jessica Zawada gave UFV a 40-37 lead heading to the fourth.
The hosts scored seven straight points to open the fourth, capped by a Jordon Haggerty three-pointer, to surge ahead 44-40. But Zawada answered with a trey of her own to ignite a 13-2 run as UFV seized control of the proceedings. Head’s triple with just over two minutes left in regulation was the dagger, putting the Cascades up 58-49.
The Cascades’ defence came up big, limiting the WolfPack to 23.8 per cent shooting from the field. But once the ball came off the rim, UFV had a tough time – TRU reeled in an eye-popping 22 offensive boards, which kept them in the game despite their shooting struggles.
Simovic chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds for the Cascades, while Head and Zawada notched 10 points apiece. Head’s contributions were pivotal – in addition to scoring in high-leverage moments, the sophomore from Maple Ridge, B.C. also contributed five rebounds and five assists.
Haggerty and Emily Vilac, with 10 points apiece, paced the WolfPack offence.
“I thought Kate was fantastic tonight,” Tuchscherer said. “She was more aggressive seeking out her offence, and defensively she was a difference-maker as well. It was good to see. Obviously JZ (Zawada) hit some big shots for us, and Taylor played with a lot of desire and passion tonight. You could tell she really wanted that win.”