Last weekend, the UFV women’s team opened up both days’ games with hard-fought matches against the Alberta Pandas, and though they didn’t come away with a “W,” there was no shortage of effort, intangibles, and even a little drama.
The first game began rough and tough with fouls exchanged and shots launched. With Katelyn Mallette back from injury, her rebounding helped the Cascades regain possession of the ball both defensively and offensively, but almost right away we saw two players showcase their skills quite dominantly, those players being UFV #10 Taylor Claggett and Alberta #4 Jenna Harpe. While the game would eventually become Claggett’s record-setting game from the free-throw line, Jenna Harpe’s shooting was on full display. Though she finished the game going 8-19 and 2-6 from deep, Harpe showed she can make tough shots; something fans always appreciate.
By the end of the first half, the Cascades’ offence had really struggled, with UFV making three total field goals. Taylor Claggett’s ability to step to the charity stripe carried the Cascades, and she finished the first half going 12-14 from the line. While the Cascades matched Alberta’s score in the second quarter, they seemed to have more success in the half court than out on the break. Alberta was faring better, but only to the tune of a five-point lead. Jenna Harpe led the team with five field goals, but they too had trouble taking off against a Cascades defence that unlike the offence was in gear most of the night.
The third quarter was a tough one for the Cascades, being outscored 23-14. The game also quickly turned from physical to very physical. This included Alberta’s Morgan Mudge catching an elbow in the face from a Cascade and having to be helped off the court with a bloody nose. Despite the rough and rowdy play, a combination of fouls and a good Alberta offence kept UFV from breaking through, who then found themselves facing a 14-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
From there things began to pick up for the Cascades. Efficient offence from Taylor Claggett and Abby Zawada among others helped the Cascades build momentum, but were only able to erase six of the 14 points they were down heading into the fourth. UFV had the ball down four with 20 seconds left, but a travelling call gave Alberta the ball back; that was enough for the Pandas to defeat the Cascades with a score of 69-61.
The night belonged to Alberta, but something has to be said for Taylor Claggett. If her 30 pts, eight boards, and four dimes weren’t enough, the Canada West record for free throws made and attempted sure was. (The records being 22 years old for FT and 36 years old for FTA.) Efforts from Abby Zawada and a pair of blocks from Katelyn Mallette also helped, but UFV’s 22 to seven turnovers in addition to Jenna Harpe’s 20 points meant that UFV would have to look for the weekend tie the following night.
The following night yielded the rematch between the two teams, with UFV looking to repair their offensive mistakes and Alberta looking to do the same, as both teams shot poorly from the field the night prior. Turnovers were crucial for the Cascades — another key point was ball control, especially against a team like Alberta who seemingly thrives on the fast break.
The first quarter was quite close, with a score of 20-16 for the Pandas. The first half of the second quarter was a rough one for UFV. Alberta seemed to have them beat both offensively and defensively, and the foul calls were beginning to add up for the Cascades. But the tide shifted once the Cascades were able to get the ball up the floor and through what at times appeared to be a full-court press by the Pandas. They reeled the game into reach by half time, with only a six-point deficit heading into the third quarter.
The second half began and so did the fouls for UFV, who otherwise had begun to correct some of the mistakes from the previous game. Points from the free-throw line benefited Alberta, who’s defence helped keep the Cascades to only eight points in the third quarter. Down 17 points and in foul trouble, UFV needed a big push to get the game close. UFV’s #5 Victoria Jacobse had some big morale plays for the Cascades but fouled out of the game. Eventually so would Cascades #15 Katelyn Mallette; both players finished with 12 points each as well as six and seven rebounds respectively. Ultimately, the Cascades fell to the Pandas by a score of 69-56.
Despite a rough weekend for the squad, the UFV Cascades will take to the road to face the MacEwan Griffins next weekend and look to bring their record to .500 before their next set of home games; a doable task for a team that despite losing twice, showed a lot of heart and skill over the weekend.
Image: UFV Cascades/Flickr