Vikes top Cascades women’s hoopsters in preseason finale

Veronica Kobes had six points off the bench vs. UVic on Saturday. (UFV Athletics file photo)

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball squad wrapped up its preseason preparations with a 75-63 loss to the Victoria Vikes at the Hoopfest Invitational Tournament, hosted by the Alberta Pandas.

The Cascades were shorthanded on Saturday, as Kate Head, Katelyn Mallette, Jessica Zawada and Elissa Vreugdenhil were unavailable due to injury.

“It was a good opportunity for some of our players to get some good minutes that haven’t had too many so far – some great experiences for them,” noted Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer, whose team was coming off a 71-64 loss to Lethbridge in their tourney opener Friday. “We ran out of gas a little bit towards the end of the game . . . important lessons along the way this weekend.”

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, the Cascades trimmed the deficit to five on a Taylor Claggett layup late in the frame to make it 52-47. The Vikes, though, reeled off a 7-0 run early in the fourth to stretch the lead back to double digits, and they kept UFV at arm’s length the rest of the way.

Claggett paced the Cascades with a game-high 24 points to go with four assists, and Amanda Thompson counted a trio of three-pointers among her 11 points and added six assists.

With all of UFV’s injury absences, Abby Zawada and Natalie Rathler stepped into the starting lineup, and registered seven and six points, respectively. Alexis Worrell, Veronica Kobes and Madeline Beerwald also took on extra minutes off the bench, and Kobes had a particularly strong outing with six points in 13 minutes.

The Vikes had five players in double figures, led by Calli McMillan with 16.

The UFV squad is gearing up for the opening weekend of Canada West conference play, Oct. 26-27 at home vs. Thompson Rivers. Games run next Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

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