UFV’s Taylor Claggett became both the Cascades’ all-time leading scorer and set the record for the most free throws made in the Canada West over the weekend. (Rich Abney/UNBC Athletics)

History-making weekend for UFV basketball

Cascades stars Taylor Claggett, Matt Cooley rewrite record books against UNBC

A big sweep by the UFV Cascades men’s and women’s basketball teams of UNBC on the weekend turned out to be a historical set of games for two graduating players.

On Friday, women’s star Taylor Claggett became the all-time Canada West leader for free throws and, on Saturday, the Cascades’ all-time leading scorer, while men’s player Matt Cooley on Saturday became the first-ever Cascade to register a triple-double.

Claggett made her 456th career free throw. She still has eight more games to rewrite the record books.

She was dominant in Friday’s 79-67 win, collecting 30 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Cascades. Rookie Deanna Tuchscherer added 15 points and five rebounds.

Claggett then passed Sarah Wierks on the program’s all-time scoring list on Saturday. Wierks had previously set the mark of 1,321, but Claggett now sits at 1,324 and counting.

The Cascades edged UNBC 75-71 on Saturday, and Tuchscherer (19) and Claggett (17) led the way offensively.

“Honestly, it wouldn’t have meant a lot if we didn’t get the win,” Claggett said, reflecting on the Cascades’ scoring record. “But now that I know about it (post-game), it’s nice. It’s not the goal I have for this year – I want us to go as far as we can in the playoffs, and getting the two wins this weekend goes a long way.”

“It’s a testament to her five-year career here, and what an effective player she’s been since day one,” UFV bench boss Al Tuchscherer said. “To get an all-time scoring record you need to be effective in all five of your years, and she really has been.”

The women’s team now sits at 8-4 this season, good for fifth place in the Canada West standings.

The men also had a good weekend in Prince George, opening the set of games with an 87-72 win over the Timberwolves on Friday. UFV took over in the third quarter, outscoring UNBC 26-18 to cruise to the win.

Vick Toor and Parm Bains had 14 points apiece, with Sukhjot Bains adding 12 points and nine rebounds.

Saturday saw history made, as Cooley racked up 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to record the first-ever triple-double in school history.

It’s just the 17th time a player has collected a triple-double in the history of Canada West. Cooley, who stands 6’ 9”, is also the tallest player to achieve the feat.

“You usually find someone of his height who can do the scoring and rebounds, but not usually the assists,” marveled Cascades head coach Adam Friesen. “He’s definitely showing all three of those facets this season at a high level. He’s having a tremendous year, and to be rewarded with this type of performance is a great honour.”

Reflecting on his slice of Cascades history, the Coquitlam, B.C. product said it felt “amazing” to complete the triple-double, and noted he takes great pride in his rare ability – for a big man – to pass the ball effectively.

“The game is definitely changing, that’s for sure,” Cooley said. “Just looking at guys like (Denver Nuggets centre Nikola) Jokic who can pass out of the post and really impact the way their team plays basketball. I think it’s a great thing to be able to impact winning without scoring the ball. I like to see my teammates as well as myself on the stat sheet, so, to me, getting an assist is way better than scoring.”

The men’s team has now clawed back to .500, and now has a record of 6-6 in Canada West regular-season play. The team sits ninth overall in the conference.

Both the men’s and women’s teams now have a two-game set against the Trinity Western

University Spartans. The teams meet in Langley on Thursday and then in Abbotsford on Saturday. The women tip off at 5 p.m. and the men get underway at 7 p.m.

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