Cascades’ comeback falls short in national championship opener

The UFV women's basketball team mounted a furious rally, only to fall short in their opening game at the CIS championship.

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team mounted a furious rally, only to fall short in their opening game at the CIS championship in Regina, Sask. on Friday.

The Saint Mary’s Huskies opened a 16-point lead in the third quarter, but the Cascades went on a 13-0 run in the fourth to draw to within a point at 51-50. Courtney Bartel ignited the spurt, scoring eight of her 11 points on the night during that stretch.

But that was as close as the Cascades would get in their national championship debut, as Saint Mary’s pulled away for a 62-57 victory.

The Huskies move on to face the Regina Cougars in Saturday’s semifinals, while the Cascades play the McGill Marlets on the consolation side of the draw.

“Slow start and playing catch-up all night long were problematic for us,” UFV coach Al Tuchscherer said. “We kept fighting and closed the gap but we didn’t have enough to close the deal. Tough loss, but we’ll regroup and be ready for McGill tomorrow.”

The Halifax-based Huskies raced out to an early 20-7 lead just over five minutes into the first quarter, but the Cascades cut the deficit by five at the end of the opening frame and trailed 29-23 at halftime.

Sarah Wierks was named UFV’s player of the game after scoring 14 points and hauling down 11 rebounds, while Kayli Sartori tied Huskies star Justine Colley – named CIS player of the year earlier in the week – for game-high scoring honours with 17 points, and added seven rebounds and six assists.

Aieisha Luyken, the Cascades’ leading scorer and a second team all-Canada West selection during the regular season, went scoreless after shooting 0-for-5 from the field.

UFV really struggled from the charity stripe, going just 1-for-9 on free throws.