Print Edition: January 15, 2014
2013 opened with the women’s basketball team, impressively, in the nationally-ranked number one slot. However, the honour would prove to be fleeting, as only three weeks into 2013 they were defeated by a strong University of Calgary team in overtime, followed by another defeat the next day against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. These two losses were a definite setback in a strong season up to that point, but when faced with adversity strong, well-coached teams turn up the intensity.
From the end of January, UFV only lost a single game (in overtime to Thompson-Rivers). In the last game of their historic regular season, the Cascades faced down Trinity Western. Taking the game 84-76, UFV closed out the regular season with a record of 18 wins and four losses — the best record in the Canada West conference — securing the first Canada West regular season title in UFV history.
UFV was tasked with facing the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for a chance to advance to the Canada West final four and the chance to make the national elite eight. The Cascades and Huskies split the first two games, setting up the third and final game of the series. Led by Kayli Satori’s 19 points, four rebounds, and five assists in the third game, UFV pulled out a blowout win (73-58) securing the team’s shot at a national title.
With divisional play at an end, the Cascades’ Aieisha Luyken was named as a Canada West first team all-star. But the season was not done yet — Luyken and the rest of the team were not going to be pleased with one all-star and a trip to the semifinals; they wanted more. Following a loss to the University of Regina, the Cascades had one final chance to earn a trip to the elite eight in a bronze medal game against the University of Alberta Pandas.
In the bronze medal game the Cascades women secured a trip to nationals as they narrowly defeated a strong University of Alberta team 68-57 winning the first Canada West medal in Cascades basektball history. It was a game in which the Cascades struggled keeping up with the Panda’s in the first half trailing at the break 32-24. The Cascades would not roll over in the second half and proved one last time that they were a strong and resilient basketball team as they forced a complete 180 from the first half and outscored the Pandas 44-25 ultimately securing their 11 point win.
Up against the Saint Mary’s Huskies, who had spent the season atop the standings, the Cascades were unable to overcome an early deficit, losing 62-57. The Cascades ended on a low note, dropping their consolation game to McGill two weeks later.
The early half of the 2013-14 regular season for the Cascades has treated them well, as they are currently the best team in Canada West basketball, seventh at a national level, and have lots of season left to build on their late 2013 successes.