The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams both took major steps toward locking up lofty playoff seeds, sweeping the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack on the road in Kamloops last weekend.
The Cascades women flexed their defensive muscles from the opening tip-off on Friday – they out-scored the WolfPack 29-3 in the first quarter en route to a 75-41 triumph, limiting the hosts to 19.7 per cent shooting from the field. Aieisha Luyken (16 points, five three-pointers), Sarah Wierks (13 points, nine rebounds) and Nataliia Gavryliuk (12 points, four steals) led the way.
On Saturday, TRU came with a much more determined effort, but the Cascades battled through foul trouble to grind out a 75-67 victory behind 17 points from Kayli Sartori and 13 from Nicole Wierks.
The WolfPack (7-7) had been just one game back of the Cascades (10-4) going into the weekend, but UFV put some distance between them while staying one game up on UBC and UVic (both 9-5) for first place in the Pacific Division of Canada West.
“It was important for us to take two, and we really took care of business,” head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “I thought it was one of our better weekends.”
The Cascades women, a veteran squad ranked No. 10 in the nation, have had a couple of unexpected stumbles this season – most recently, blowing an 18-point lead late in the third quarter and falling in OT to the Winnipeg Wesmen on Jan. 10.
Tuchscherer hopes the performance in Kamloops indicates his team is turning the corner.
“Hopefully this is a little bit of a spark that we can build on from here and just continue to get better every game,” he said. “Time is ticking away here, and we need to play some better basketball than we have up to this point.”
CASCADES MEN IN SECOND PLACE
The Cascades men, meanwhile, surged ahead in the race for second place in the Pacific Division – and the right to host a first-round playoff series that comes with it.
UFV and TRU had matching 7-5 records going into the weekend, but the Cascades boosted their win streak to six games (currently the longest streak in Canada West) by virtue of 74-65 and 76-69 victories.
At 9-5, the Cascades will be hard-pressed to catch first-place UVic (12-2), but they now have a two-game cushion on TRU, Mount Royal and Trinity Western (all 7-7).
“Great weekend for our team,” Cascades coach Adam Friesen stated in a press release. “Lots of great individual performances but the team-first attitude of everyone is really what won us these games … [TRU] has been a very tough place for us to play in the past. For us to get two wins this weekend is very fortunate. The boys played hard and well.”
Jasper Moedt, UFV’s 6’7″ centre, was outstanding vs. TRU – he racked up 21 points and 11 rebounds on Friday, and followed that with a double-double (13 points, 14 boards) on Saturday.
Kevon Parchment also authored a tremendous individual performance on Saturday, stuffing the stat sheet with 25 points (including 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc), 14 rebounds and three assists.
• The Cascades hoopsters host their first home games of the second semester this weekend. They take on the UBC-Okanagan Heat on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.