Cascade hoopsters stumble on road
The road was not kind to the University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams, as the Cascades men's and women's squads combined to go 0-for-4 on a weekend jaunt to Alberta.
The UFV hoopsters suffered a sweep at the hands of the Calgary Dinos on Friday, the women falling 79-69 in overtime and the men losing 88-84.
The Cascades' misery was extended by the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday – the women dropped a 64-59 decision, while the men were edged 74-72.
It was a particularly stunning turn of events for the UFV women's squad, who came in ranked No. 1 in the nation and had lost just one game in Canada West play all season.
"You really wouldn't have recognized our team at all," head coach Al Tuchscherer mused. "Two key things for us are, we're pretty tough to score against and we share the ball. . . . But we didn't do either of those things.
"It was just a real individual mindset. At the defensive end of the floor, we weren't supporting each other, which is key for our defensive system. And offensively, it seemed like every shot we took was a bad shot.
"It just didn't have a good feel at all."
The Cascades managed to get to OT vs. Calgary, but it required a furious rally in the last five minutes of regulation, and Tuchscherer said his team played poorly the rest of the night.
Jessica Franz (23 points, nine rebounds) and Megan Schaufele (19 points) set the pace for the Dinos, while Kayli Sartori (19 points) and Sarah Wierks (16 points, 15 rebounds) were the most productive Cascades.
In Lethbridge, UFV led by eight heading to the fourth quarter, but the Pronghorns outscored them 25-12 in the final frame en route to victory. The Cascades were miserable at the offensive end – they shot 26.7 per cent from the floor, and starters Sartori (1-for-12) and Courtney Bartel (0-for-7) particularly struggled.
Aieisha Luyken (19 points) and Wierks (16 points, 14 rebounds) led the way for UFV, while Erin Skippon's 15 points paced the Longhorns.
The good news is, the Cascades still lead the Pacific Division at 11-3, though Thompson Rivers (11-4), UBC (10-4) and Victoria (10-4) are lurking. And Tuchscherer is confident that the weekend losses will serve to refocus his team.
"We're going to be fine – I think this will just galvanize things, more than anything," he said. "I'll go out on a limb and I'll guarantee you we'll finish the season strong. I've got butterflies in my stomach about practice today, I'm so excited about it."
MISSING GREWAL, MEN'S LOSING STREAK HITS FOUR
The No. 7-ranked Cascades men have had a tough go of it since Christmas – with star power forward Kyle Grewal out with an ankle injury, they've dropped their first four games of the second semester and are back at the .500 mark at 7-7.
The Dinos overcame a massive performance from UFV's Sam Freeman on Friday. The fifth-year shooting guard racked up 41 points – a new single-game record for the Cascades since they joined Canada West back in 2006-07. But UFV shot poorly as a team, making just 37.7 per cent of their attempts from the field while Calgary shot 49.1 per cent.
Against Lethbridge, UFV fell behind by 19 at halftime, but outscored the Pronghorns 21-7 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to five. The hosts hung on for the win, though, with Derek Waldner's 18 points and 16 rebounds setting the tone. Kevon Parchment (23 points) and Freeman (15) spearheaded the UFV offence.
HOOPSTERS HOME THIS WEEKEND
The Cascades basketball teams are at home this weekend to face the UNBC Timberwolves on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).