Injury-riddled Cascades fall to Griffins

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CW slider-WBB vs MacEwan-Nov28-14The MacEwan Griffins continued to exceed expectations as a first-year Canada West program, beating the injury-riddled University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 77-48 in women’s basketball action on Friday evening in Abbotsford.


The Edmonton-based Griffins got 23 points from Megan Wood, 12 from Kelly O’Hallahan and 11 from Kari Kubinec as they improved to 5-2 in regular-season action and seized sole possession of second place in the Explorers Division.

The Cascades, who were missing starters Nataliia Gavryliuk and Katie Brink due to injury, fell to 4-3 on the year. Third-year forward Shayna Litman (12 points) was the only UFV player to score in double figures, while fifth-year centre Sarah Wierks notched nine points and 13 rebounds.

The Griffins limited the Cascades to 26.8 per cent shooting from the field while hitting 43.5 per cent of their own attempts, and turned the ball over just 12 times compared to 25 for UFV.

Featured-WBB vs MacEwan-Nov28-14The two teams clash again on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre, and the game will be webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv.

In addition to missing Gavryliuk and Brinks, Cascades fifth-year point guard Celeste Dyck was unable to practice this week due to injury and was limited to 23 minutes on Friday.

“Full credit to MacEwan,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “But it’s not overly surprising after the week that we had. It was an extremely frustrating and challenging week for us, and this is what happens.

“We have things happening that have never happened to our squad before (injury-wise). It’s our leadership, it’s our toughness, it’s our scoring, our rebounding, our defence. These aren’t just any three players – these are three key players for us.”

The Griffins led from wire to wire, building a five-point lead in the first quarter before UFV cut the deficit to 16-14 at the end of the frame. But MacEwan took control in the second, outscoring the Cascades 21-6, and they expanded the lead further in the second half.

With key veterans missing, Tuchscherer said it’s a chance for his younger players to step up.

“Not much is going to change tomorrow – we’re going to have the same lineup, and they’re going to have to figure it out,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for a lot of these guys who have wanted to play more, who have wanted a different role. Well, here it is. Seize the moment.”

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