The hot-shooting UNBC Timberwolves denied the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team a chance to lock up a Canada West playoff berth, topping the Cascades 82-66 on Saturday to earn a weekend split in Prince George.
The Cascades, coming off a 77-70 victory in Friday’s opener, were unable to slow the T-Wolves in the first half of the rematch – the hosts shot a scorching 60.6 per cent from the field (20-for-33) and led 53-31 at the break.
UFV, despite trailing by as many as 24 points in the second half, dug deep and mounted a comeback, trimming the deficit to nine points (66-57) after opening the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run. But UNBC guard Maria Mongomo got her team back on track, hitting a pair of and-one layups in quick succession midway through the frame, and the T-Wolves kept the Cascades at bay from there.
UNBC finishes its Canada West schedule with a 9-11 record, while the Cascades (7-11, 12th in Canada West) will look to punch their post-season ticket next weekend as they host the Manitoba Bisons in a Friday-Saturday set at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
“I thought they were a desperate team tonight, really came out with a lot of energy,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said of the T-Wolves. “Mongomo really asserted herself early, and we didn’t adjust to it and it snowballed from there. We couldn’t reel it in.”
Sara Simovic paced the Cascades with 24 points, Shayna Litman scored 18, and Taylor Claggett had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Mongomo poured in a game-high 27 points and added five steals for the T-Wolves, and Vasiliki Louka (20 points, 12 boards) had a double-double of her own.
In a noteworthy display of accuracy, UFV and UNBC combined for a perfect night from the foul line, both teams going 19-for-19.
“We just reminded the girls at halftime what we’ve been trying to do the last few weeks – getting back to playing hard, communicating and playing together,” Tuchscherer said. “It’s really been our focus, and we got back to it in the second half and ended up winning both of those quarters. But the hole was just too big.”