Cascades women’s hoopsters sweep Victoria

The University of the Fraser Valley women's basketball team kept pace with the UBC Thunderbirds in the race for first place.

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team kept pace with the UBC Thunderbirds in the race for first place in Canada West’s Pacific Division, winning a pair of weekend games in Victoria.

The Cascades knocked off the UVic Vikes 70-57 on Friday, and 61-49 on Saturday. At 9-3, they lead the Pacific Division in wins, but UBC (8-2) has two games in hand.

“Good weekend for the team,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer summarized in a press release. “Two wins in Victoria is always a challenge and I’m proud of our squad for putting two solid efforts in over two days.”

The three-pointer was a deadly weapon for UFV – they hit 11 of 26 shots from beyond the arc in Friday’s opener, accounting for nearly half their points. Aieisha Luyken led the assault, dropping four three-bombs en route to a game-high 21 points. Sophomore centre Sarah Wierks also had a big game for the Cascades, notching a double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds) along with three blocks and three assists.

On Saturday, the UFV women drained 12 more treys (12-for-27), while the Vikes went just 1-for-16 from the land beyond. Tessa Klassen did much of the damage, counting five triples among her 17 points. Wierks, with 10 points and 12 rebounds, posted her second double-double of the weekend.

On the men’s hoops scene, splitting a pair of games against the first-place Vikes represented a solid performance for the Cascades. But head coach Barnaby Craddock was unhappy that his team followed a terrific 79-70 win on Friday with a dreadful 91-67 loss the next day.

“We were outplayed from start to finish,” Craddock analyzed. “We struggled to find any kind of mental focus for more than the briefest moments. It was definitely a disappointing performance after playing with such cohesion in the win the night before.”

The Vikes men, ranked No. 6 in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), came in leading Canada West at 9-1. But the Cascades, ranked No. 10 nationally, knocked them off in Friday’s opener, with Kyle Grewal (18 points), Joel Friesen (17) and Sam Freeman (15) scoring in double figures.

But the Vikes bounced back in a big way, building a big lead in the first quarter en route to a wire-to-wire win on Saturday. Grewal had a solid outing with 21 points and eight rebounds, but sharpshooting guard Freeman really struggled in the loss, going just 1-for-11 from the field for three points.

UFV (7-5) is third in the Pacific Division, trailing UVic (10-2) and UBC (8-2).

• The Cascades hit the road to face the Regina Cougars on Friday and the Brandon Bobcats on Saturday.