By Davivd Kent. The UFV Cascades women’s basketball team defeated the University of Alberta Pandas, 68-57, to clinch the third and final Canada West berth in the 2013 CIS “Final 8” tournament to be held in Regina, Saskatchewan the weekend of March 15-17, 2013.
This marks the program’s first appearance at the CIS “Final 8” national championship tournament. The Cascades participated in the two CIS Regional tournaments the past two years. UFV’S bronze medal is also the program’s first Canada West conference medal in the seven years affiliated with the league. The game was played at the Jack Simpson Gym, on the campus of University of Calgary.
“Making our first appearance at the “Final 8” is another accomplishment and another first for this team,” commented head coach Al Tuchscherer.
Trailing for most of the night, the number three ranked Cascades turned an eight-point halftime deficit into an 11-point victory, outscoring the Pandas by a whopping 30-15 margin in the fourth quarter, the Cascades punched their tickets to Regina, where they’ll take part in the national tournament for the first time.
The Pandas dominated the opening half, shooting 40 per cent from the field against just 29 per cent for Fraser Valley as the Cascades struggled to find any flow offensively. The final five minutes of the opening quarter turned a five-point UFV lead into a four-point Alberta advantage as the Pandas ended the opening 10 minutes on a 15-4 run. In the second, the Pandas held the Cascades to just 10 points while scoring 14 of their own, capped off by a trey from Sally Hillier late in the half and Alberta took a 32-24 lead into half time.
The roles were reversed in the second half as the Cascades were lights out from the field while it was the Pandas’ turn to struggle. UFV shot nearly 52 per cent from the field in the second half, including 5-for-10 from beyond the arc as they cut the deficit to four after the third quarter before embarking on the 30-15 whitewash in the fourth. Back-to-back threes by Courtney Bartel and Aieisha Luyken brought the Cascades within two points with just under two minutes to play in the frame. A Sarah Wierks lay-up in the opening minute of the fourth tied it at 42-42, and the Pandas would not lead again after that point.
The Cascades, meanwhile, were led by the tandem of Nicole Wierks and Kayli Sartori. Both put up matching 17-point, seven-rebound efforts, with Sartori adding five assists and a pair of blocks to her stat line. Luyken added 15, mostly from the outside as she splashed four of her seven chances from long range. Sarah Wierks matched the seven-rebound efforts of Nicole and Sartori.
“Alberta came in really energized and motivated to tonight’s game. We battled through the first half to keep things close which was key. Midway through the third I thought we really regrouped and started really believing in the things we do well. It was a great fourth quarter with many players again making big plays to secure the win,” said Tuchscherer.
Files courtesy of U of Calgary Sports Information Office