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UFV women best in the west as men struggle into final playoff berth

The cross valley rivalry of the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades basketball squads was renewed this weekend for each team’s final regular season games. This year the UFV women came out on top with two wins in two games on the weekend, while the men split the weekend walking away with one win and one loss.

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By Jasper Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: February 20, 2013

The cross valley rivalry of the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades basketball squads was renewed this weekend for each team’s final regular season games. This year the UFV women came out on top with two wins in two games on the weekend, while the men split the weekend walking away with one win and one loss.

In Friday night action, the UFV women opened their series with a 77-66 win at the Envision Athletic Centre (EAC). The Cascades got a huge game from fourth-year Nicole Weirks who notched 17 points and 11 rebounds – both numbers were game highs. On what would have been a seniors’ night for the women there was no one to congratulate, as all the women have at least one more year of eligibility left. For a team that has been consistently ranked in the top five in the country all year, this is a sign of great things to come for the Cascades women’s program.

Prior to the late game on Friday night, there was a short ceremony honouring the three graduating seniors from the men’s team: James York, Sam Freeman and Kyle Grewal. In a short but heartfelt speech, head coach Adam Friesen spoke of the dedication and commitment these athletes have shown to the Cascades basketball program.

The speech appeared to rally the men’s squad, as they jumped on the unprepared Trinity Western squad for a 69-58 victory. In his final game on his home court fifth-year senior Sam Freeman was nothing short of spectacular, shooting five of six from the three point line, 12 of 17 overall, going for 32 points on the night. With the win the Cascades clinched a playoff spot.

On Saturday, the women’s team were powered by a strong showing from Sarah Weirks, who posted a respectable 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead her team to an 84-76 win. The game, which was hosted at the Langley Events Centre (LEC), had a closer feel and was much tighter than the final score indicated.

With this win, the Cascades locked up first place in the pacific division and rights to host a first round playoff series. Also notable was the play of Jaslyen Singh and Kaitlyn Brink off the bench for the Cascades – both played effective minutes and put forward solid efforts.

Meanwhile, the UFV men’s squad dropped a 61-74 decision to the Spartans at the LEC. The game was a back and forth affair with the men just not having enough gas left in the tank in the closing minutes.

Four Cascades played the entire game and in the fourth quarter fatigue became a factor, as the Spartans repeatedly grabbed offensive rebounds and ran an effective fast break, which eventually earned them the victory. The Cascades were led by James York and Sam Freeman, who put up 16 and 17 points, respectively.

With this weekend’s results the men’s and women’s squads now look ahead to the first round of the playoffs where the women will play host to the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the men will go on the road to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Both teams will play a best of three series, with the men playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) in Saskatoon, and the women playing Thursday, Friday and perhaps Saturday.

For Cascades fans, the women’s home  games will start at 7 p.m. each night at the Envision Athletic Centre.  Fans should expect a high intensity playoff feeling as the Cascades look to get off to a strong start in their run at a national title.

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