By Cascades Media. UFV Cascades basketball will face the University of Regina Cougars (Friday), and the University of Brandon Bobcats (Saturday) this weekend at the Envision Athletic Centre. The Cascades women are riding a five game winning streak, while the men are at eight consecutive wins and counting. Friday’s doubleheader will be Mental Health Night courtesy of Fraser Health, while Saturday will be the Cascades annual CIS Shoot for the Cure Night.
The University of Regina will be a critical opponent for the Cascades, who are still trying to prove they belong among the top echelon of Canada West teams. Regina, last year’s Canada West champion and national finalist, is currently ranked fourth in the nation, sandwiched between the Cougars’ divisional competitors the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the University of Alberta Pandas. All three teams hold the same 14-2 record, while the seventh-ranked Cascades (12-4), seem to be the dark horse of this elite group.
The Cougars are led by fifth year guard Nicole Clarke, who averages 17.8 ppg including 44 percent from behind the arc. Under Clarke, Regina is the highest scoring team in the Canada West (averaging 78.6 ppg), outscoring opponents by a margin of more than 20 points per game. By contrast, the Cascades have the best defense in the Canada West, limiting opponents to an average of 53 points, and outscoring opponents by more than 16 points per game. Friday will truly be a battle of opposites, made more complex by the absence of the Regina head coach Dave Taylor, who is currently under quarantine for potential measles exposure.
The Bobcats (5-11), are not of the same calibre as Regina, but still have the potential to surprise. Their record includes two losses apiece to the formidable Huskies and Golden Bears, and are a reasonable 5-7 against all other opponents.
The key weapon in the Bobcats’ attack is Cassie Cook, whose point total on the season (392) is twice that accumulated by any other player on the roster. The third year guard averages 21.5 field goal attempts per game while scoring an average of 24.5 ppg. She leads the Bobcats in just about every statistical category, so shutting down her game will be essential to any Cascades strategy.
The Cougar men have almost the exact opposite record of their female counterparts, having compiled a division-worst 3-13. The squad averages ten points per night less than their opponents, and are currently sitting on a four game losing streak. Still, last weekend the UBC Okanagan Heat (3-11 at the time) almost stole one from the Cascades, and the Cougars beat them by eight in mid-January.
Regina is led by rookie guard Brandon Tull, who averages 29.6 minutes and 15.3 points for the Cougars. The team leads the Canada West in only one statistical category, blocked shots, with 60 in 16 games. Regina’s 6-8 forward Wesley Jones is directly responsible for this statistical anomaly with 31 blocks by himself. The Cascades will need to swallow their pride and accept a couple of swats on Friday in pursuit of the win.
The Brandon Bobcats (5-11) are staring down the barrel of playoff elimination, which may inspire them to some last minute heroics. Boasting a remarkably balanced attack that includes four players who average double-digit scoring, Brandon is a team with a bad record resulting from a lot of close games and a little bad luck. They have the distinction of being responsible for one of the University of Alberta’s two losses this season, and could be a dangerous team on the right night.
Friday, Jan 31
6 pm UReg Cougars @ UFV Cascades (WBB)
8 pm UReg Cougars @ UFV Cascades (MBB)
Saturday, Feb 1
5 pm UBran Bobcats @ UFV Cascades (WBB)
7 pm UBran Bobcats @ UFV Cascades (MBB)
Watch all the games online at canadawest.tv