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Abbotsford, BC…The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades women's basketball team defeated the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, 73-58, in a thrilling third game in Canada West quarterfinal playoff action at the Envision Athletics Centre. The Cascades win the best of three series and advance to the Final Four at Calgary, Alberta.
The Cascades came out hungry for a fight, dominating the opening half. UFV shot out of the gate, with a 12 point offensive run to open the first quarter. The aggressive Cascade team showed great defensive strength, forcing the Huskies to turn over the ball numerous times setting a school playoff record by holding the Saskatchewan squad scoreless for 5 minutes and 17 seconds to start the game.
The second quarter showed a more ferocious UFV defense, holding Saskatchewan scoreless three minutes in. The second school playoff record set by the Cascades was preventing the Huskies from scoring a three field goal for 17 minutes of the first half. Overall the Cascades moved the ball well, made key interceptions, and placed great defensive pressure on the Huskies to force multiple shot clock violations.
First half scoring honors for UFV went to Kayli Sartori, Chilliwack, BC, with 11 points. Sarah Wierks, Chilliwack, BC, put up nine points of her own and pulled in three rebounds. Courtney Bartel, Chilliwack, BC, and Aieisha Luyken, Mission, BC, matched each other with four points and one rebound. Nicole Wierks, Chilliwack, BC, had a strong defensive half with six rebounds. The Cascades shot 40% from the field, had 16 total rebounds and forced 14 Saskatchewan turnovers. UFV left the half with the 12 point lead they built up in the opening minutes of the game with a score of 35-23.
Huskies forward Dalyce Emmerson, Prince Albert, SK led with 11 points, the only Saskatchewan player to put up double figures in the first half.
The second half began with UFV increasing its lead to 14 points before the Huskies went on a nine point run, all from three point field goals. The Huskies came dangerously close to the Cascades lead knocking it down to five points two minutes in. After a UFV timeout, the Cascades refocused their attention and began to build up their lead once more. In the waning seconds of the third quarter Celeste Dyck, Chilliwack, BC, made a key interception, went on a breakaway only to get fouled and go to the line. Combined with a subsequent steal, Dyck would put up four consecutive key points from the line to protect the Cascades 11 point lead at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter action saw the Huskies turn up the intensity to come within two points of the Cascades. Luyken and Nicole Wierks showed their veteran strength to take the Cascades from a two point lead back to a ten point lead with under a minute left in play. Sartori would go to the line to bump UFV back to their original 12 point lead with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
Sartori finished off a solid night with to lead the Cascades with 19 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Sarah Wierks chipped in 13 points and five rebounds. Luyken ended with 10 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Nicole Wierks played an astounding 35 minutes and while only having nine points on the night, six were in the final two minutes of the game. She also led UFV with 10 rebounds. The Cascades shot 43% in the second half, pulled down 33 total rebounds, and forced 27 Saskatchewan turnovers.
The Huskies were led by Emmerson with 18 points and six rebounds. Kiera Lyons, Ryley, AB, gave 14 points and four rebounds. Riley Humbert, Saskatoon, SK, and Desarae Hogberg, Regina, SK, each contributed eight points.
The victory marks the third straight year UFV has won the Canada West quarterfinal and move onto the elite “Final Four.” The Cascades are looking to advance to their first CIS “Final 8” elite championship tournament, to be held in Regina, Saskatchewan in two weeks.