UFV’s Natalie Rathler and the Cascades look to get into the win column this weekend. (Dan Kinvig/UFV Athletics)

UFV basketball teams hitting the floor

Home openers for men’s and women’s teams tip-off on Friday night

It’s tip-off time for the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades men’s and women’s basketball teams, as both clubs host their regular-season home openers on Friday night.

Both teams are coming off a bye week, and welcome the UBC Okanagan Heat to the Envision Financial Athletic Centre for a two-game set.

It has been nearly three months since the UFV men’s basketball team last played a game at home – back on Aug. 19, they hosted the NCAA D1 Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners in exhibition action, dropping a 96-59 decision. The balance of their preseason slate came on the road, with in-province trips to Kamloops and Victoria.

The men opened the Canada West regular season with a pair of road losses to the Winnipeg Wesmen on Nov. 1 and 2.

“We haven’t played in that gym since August, and we’re excited to be back in there,” stated Parm Bains, the Cascades’ fifth-year point guard. “We’re going to try to get into the win column.”

This weekend’s opponent, UBC Okanagan (1-3), is a familiar one for the Cascades. They played the Heat at a preseason tourney in Kamloops, earning an 80-76 win.

“They play with a lot of pace and energy, and they can get hot,” said Bains, no pun intended. “When we played them a couple weeks ago, we won the first half by 23 and they won the second half by 19. It was a tale of two halves. We have to be consistent, because they can get rolling. They have some firepower.”

The men will hope to lean on Sukhjot Bains, who started off the season red-hot by averaging 19 points per game to start the season. He sits ninth in the Canada West in scoring.

Games are set for 8 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The women are in a similar position after also dropping two games to Winnipeg to open the season earlier this month.

They host the Heat (1-3), who are coming off a home-court split with the TRU WolfPack.

“It’s exciting because we haven’t played our first league game with this group yet at home, so I’m excited to see how we do,” Cascades fourth-year guard Amanda Thompson said.

“Early on, we expected that we weren’t going to be in perfect form as a team because we’re a young group and we have things to figure out. We’re not focusing on the results, but more on the process. The two weeks of practice we’ve had through the bye weekend, we worked on things we need to work on, and it was nice for us to step back and look at the big picture again.”

UFV’s Taylor Claggett kicked off her senior season in style against Winnipeg, and sits fifth in the conference in scoring and second in both rebounding and assists.

The women play on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

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