The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team opened its exhibition schedule with a 74-57 road loss to the UBC Thunderbirds on Thursday evening.
The veteran-laden T-Birds got off to a strong start on the boards, out-rebounding the Cascades 18-9 in the first quarter as they opened a 19-7 lead. They expanded the margin to 33-19 at the half, and kept UFV at bay from there.
“It was a game that we need to experience,” said Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer, whose relatively youthful roster features five rookies. “They’re a team that’s been brewing for the past couple years, so they’re ahead of us in a lot of ways. It was a good learning experience for us, and it’s going to make practice a lot easier, when we get in there and start talking about some of these things.
“We really struggled with boarding the basketball, particularly early in the game, and we struggled with the pace and physicality they wanted to play with. I think we’re capable of doing those things, we just don’t know what that looks like yet.”
There were several distinctly bright spots for the Cascades, most notably the play of fourth-year forward Taylor Claggett and rookie guard Abby Zawada. Claggett fashioned her standard double-double stat line: 12 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Zawada, meanwhile, came alive after halftime – after attempting just one field goal in the first half, she went 4-for-6 from downtown after the break to tie Claggett for team-high scoring honours.
“It was good to see her adjust a little bit, hunt her shot a little bit more, and for us to find her,” Tuchscherer said of Zawada. “Taylor was Taylor tonight. We need her to be that player, and we need her to even do more now.”
Victoria Jacobse chipped in with seven points for the Cascades, and Elissa Vreugdenhil added six points and six boards.
Keylyn Filewich paced the T-Birds’ effort on the glass, hauling down eight of her game-high 16 rebounds in the first quarter alone, and she added 11 points. Madison Legault (12 points) and Maddison Penn (11) also scored in double figures for the hosts, who out-boarded the Cascades 46-36 for the game.