Print Edition: March 20, 2013
A fourth quarter comeback came just short for the UFV women’s basketball team as their hunt for the school’s first-ever national championship came to a close in the opening round of the Final Eight national tournament. The Cascades trailed the Saint Mary’s Huskies by 14 coming into the fourth quarter, but managed to cut the deficit to just one point late in the game. That was as close as the comeback would get as the Huskies managed to re-establish their lead in the closing minutes. At the final buzzer the Huskies walked away with a 62-57 victory. In the loss the Cascades were led by forward Kayli Sartori who scored 17 points and dished out six assists, as well as Sarah Wierks who contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds.
On Saturday night the Cascades returned to take on McGill University in the consolation side of the draw. The women just didn’t seem to have any gas left in their tank after the previous night’s emotional fourth quarter comeback attempt. McGill had their way on offence, using big second and third quarters to build to their eventual 70-52 victory. In the loss the Cascades were led for a second night by Sartori who had 15 points in the game.
The Saturday night loss marked the second straight night the Cascades were not in tune offensively or defensively. As a squad that feeds off its defensive intensity to fuel its fast-paced offence, the women looked out-of-sorts against teams that took care of the ball and forced UFV to run a half-court offence more frequently. Undoubtedly this Cascades team, that has set such high standards for itself, will be looking at plenty of game tape over the course of the offseason to dissect where they went wrong and what they can do to prepare for next year’s playoff run. With this weekend’s results the women’s squad finishes eighth in the country.
This showing at the national tournament comes as a disappointment for a team that maintained a fairly high national ranking throughout the year and ended the year with the best regular season record in school history at 18 wins and only four losses. The Cascades managed to earn their first ever berth to the Final Eight tournament by defeating the University of Saskatchewan 2-1 in a best of three series, and then moved on to take bronze at the Canada West Final Four. The bronze medal was the first medal women’s basketball has earned in their time competing in Canada West.
Despite an unfortunate showing at this year’s national tournament, the UFV fans have plenty to look forward to in the coming years. This year’s edition of the Cascades does not graduate any players and will look to bring a full roster of returners back. Many of the team’s players move into their fifth and final year of eligibility next year and will combine with the talent of some of the younger players on the squad to create an extremely deep and talented squad in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.