Big nights from Jenna Bugiardini and Amira Giannattasio

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Big nights from Jenna Bugiardini and Amira Giannattasio and a collective dominance on the offensive boards powered the Victoria Vikes to a 68-57 victory over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Canada West women’s basketball action on Friday.

“They are a team that does a really good job of defending and taking away easy shots, in a gritty game our girls stepped up,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “Typically that’s not our style of game, we like to play fast-pace and with finesse, but I thought we were gritty and tough tonight.”

Fifth-year forward Bugiardini racked up a huge double-double (22 points, 13 rebounds) and third-year guard Giannattasio counted a pair of back-breaking fourth-quarter treys among her 15 points.

The Cascades had four starters score in double figures – Kayli Sartori (12 points), Sydney Williams (11), Shayna Litman (10) and Taylor Claggett (10 points, 10 rebounds) – shot 42.1 per cent from the field while limiting the Vikes to 31.2 per cent. Those shooting numbers would typically add up to a victory for the home side.

Coming into the game Sartori was averaging 18 points a game, and the Vikes defensive focus on her paid off with a win.

“Huge credit to Marissa Dheensaw, who did a great job of just not letting her catch,” said Sinclair. “She used her length, played in the passing lanes and tried to limit her catches. There were lots of people who stepped up and helped, but the bulk of it rested on Marissa’s shoulders.”

But while Victoria’s overall margin on the boards was a modest 47-44, their prowess on the offensive glass and their superior attention to detail in taking care of the basketball paved the way to the double-digit win. The visitors hauled down 20 offensive rebounds to gain extra possessions – the Cascades collected just eight such caroms – and had just 10 turnovers compared to 20 for UFV.

“That was really good to see,” said Sinclair. “Jenna Bugiardini has been consistently rebounding for us, but to have Nicole (Karstein) with 13 and Marissa (Dheensaw) with nine, that was a big difference in a game where we didn’t really shoot the ball that well.”

The Cascades (10-7, eighth in Canada West) and Vikes (12-5, sixth) renew hostilities on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The Vikes reeled off a 12-0 run bridging the first and second quarters to seize a 14-point lead (26-12), but the Cascades responded with an 11-2 run of their own to end the frame and cut the deficit to 32-28 at halftime.

UFV stayed within striking distance throughout the third and for much of the fourth, but the Vikes’ relentlessness on the offensive glass stalled the Cascades’ momentum time and again. Giannattasio swished triples on back-to-back possessions midway through the fourth to push the lead back to 14 points (62-48) and UFV never threatened again.

UVIC: 23-16-26-22: 87
UFV: 21-22-17-22: 82

UVICJenna Bugiardini (22), Amira Giannattasio (15), Jenna Krug (8)
UFV: Kayli Sartori (12), Sydney Williams (11), Taylor Clagget (10)

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