Cascades show grit, but Griffins fend them off in fourth quarter


One night after suffering a blowout loss to the MacEwan Griffins, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team turned in a much-improved effort in the rematch.

The Cascades, who fell 90-59 on Friday in Edmonton, had the Griffins sweating late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, but MacEwan held on for an 83-75 victory.

“It was a lot better tonight,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “Our level of compete was much more acceptable. Defensively we still gave up a lot of points, but we were a little bit better there. And we didn’t turn the ball over as much, which was good. We were more responsible that way.

“Clearly, it was important for us to respond in a favourable way to last night’s game. You can build on a game like tonight. Last night’s game, there wasn’t a lot to build on.”

The Cascades fell to 6-6 on the season, still good for third place in the Explorers Division, while second-place MacEwan improved to 10-2.

A seesaw battle in the first quarter was a result of a much better start for the Cascades. The teams traded baskets throughout the quarter with the Griffins holding a 19-17 lead at the end of the frame.

An early 13-2 run allowed the Griffins to expand their lead early in the second quarter, but the Cascades would not quit, battling back to send the game into the half with the Griffins up 39-37. Sarah Wierks put up eight straight points to lead the Cascades’ late charge.

In the third the Griffins grabbed nine offensive boards to pull away and take a 63-52 lead into the fourth quarter. The Cascades would trail by as many as 12, but reeled off a 7-0 spurt to draw to within 73-68 with four and a half minutes left in regulation.

The Griffins, though, held the Cascades off the scoreboard for the next 2:30 while extending their lead back to double digits.

MacEwan’s Megan Wood finished with a game-high 26 points, while Wierks had another double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds, along with six assists and four blocks.

Katie Brink, who returned to the Cascades’ lineup on Friday after missing four games due to injury, was impressive on Saturday, registering 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Celeste Dyck (13 points, five assists) and Kaitlyn McDonald (11 points, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc) also scored in double figures.

“When Katie Brink is healthy, she’s an elite player in Canada West and I think you saw that tonight,” Tuchscherer noted. “That’s what we expect from Katie every night.”

The UFV women’s hoopsters are at home next weekend, hosting the UBC Okanagan Heat Jan. 23-24. Friday’s game (6 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre) is Shoot for the Cure night – the Cascades’ fundraiser for the B.C./Yukon chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Saturday’s game tips off at 5 p.m.


Sarah Wierks

Sarah Wierks

Sarah Wierks’s 13 rebounds on Saturday moved her to within four of tying Janis Paskevich (Calgary Dinos, 1977-1982) for second on the all-time Canada West rebounding list. Paskevich hauled in 912 boards during her career with the Dinos, while Chilliwack native Wierks is hot on her heels with 908 and will likely pass her on Friday night vs. UBC Okanagan.

With just eight regular-season games remaining for the Cascades, all-time leader Sarah Crooks (Saskatchewan Huskies, 2002-2007) and her eye-popping total of 1,181 rebounds is out of Wierks’s reach – she’d have to average 34.1 boards per game down the stretch, and that’s not going to happen.

As it stands, Wierks leads Canada West in rebounding this season with 13.8 rebounds per game, and ranks second in scoring at 19.6 points per game.

Canada West women’s basketball, all-time rebounds

  • Sarah Crooks, Sask (2002-2007) – 1181
  • Janis Paskevich, Cgy (1977-1982) – 912
  • Sarah Wierks, UFV (2010-2015) – 908
  • Leighann Doan, Cgy (1996-2001) – 874
  • Trix Kannekens (Baker), AB (1976-1981) – 871
  • Kelsey Blair, UBC (2002-2007) – 852

– with files from MacEwan Athletics

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