By Vanessa Broadbent (The Cascade) – Email

Image: UFV Cascades
Image: UFV Cascades

With a new roster and a larger team than last season, the Cascades women’s basketball team gears up for their regular season. As the team hits the halfway mark of their preseason, head coach Al Tuchscherer talks about their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what to expect in the upcoming season.

How was training?

It was good. It was a good summer for the girls and September was pretty good. They’re a really competitive group. They’re excited to get going with the season.

How’s preseason?

We’re still in the middle of it, game-wise. We’ve played six games and have a few more before conference starts. We’ve had a pretty tough preseason, we’ve played some high-calibre teams, but you get better every game. We’ve had some scores that aren’t particularly flattering. We’ve had some injuries that have held us back a bit.

What’s your training regimen like?

It changed throughout the year, for sure. Right now we practice every day, sometimes twice a day. The girls are in the weight room two, three times a week. Right now we’re playing exhibition games as well. Once we get into our conference stuff, training changes and we travel a lot more. Once we get into that we won’t be practicing twice a day. We’ll cut our lifts down to one to two times a week.

What’s your roster like this season?

A lot of new faces this year. We have eight new kids in our lineup. We graduated some last year. We had a smaller roster last year. We brought in some really good kids; we brought in some veteran kids. We’ve had a couple transfers, a girl from the Pacwest league who had a great four years at Quest University. We’re excited about bringing her in. So, there’s a lot of new faces, which means there’s a lot of learning to do to bring the team together. It’s tough when you have that many new faces in the lineup.

What do you think are the team’s strengths and weaknesses?

Well, I think for our weakness, we’re not experienced and we’re not very big, so there’s two significant hurdles to overcome. But we can shoot the ball really well. We’ve got some kids who can really shoot the ball. Number two: we’re a super competitive group, probably as competitive as I’ve ever had. They get after it in practice, which will take you a long way as well. We’re not big, but we’re pretty athletic, so we can get some speed as well.

What are you expecting to see in the upcoming season?

Well, I think that we’re a team that can contend for a division in the championship here. We’re in a pretty tough division but I think that we can compete, and I think that we’re in the top two or three teams vying for that division title, and that’s definitely within our grasp. I think getting us in the Canada West final four would be a fantastic accomplishment; and then once you get to the final four, nationals is in your grasp. Nationals is not out of the question for this group.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.