Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan women's basketball team defended home territory in their first ever Canada West regular season game on the brand-new Ron & Jane Graham Centre Court as they defeated the Fraser Valley Cascades 87-47, on Friday, Nov. 2 at the PAC.
"We had great energy for our first home game of the season, and it was great to see a lot of people contributing," said Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis. "That was an important one for us to start of the season at home like that, I'm pretty pleased."
Rookie Ashley de Sousa Martins recorded 14 points and 11 rebounds in her first home regular season game as a Huskie. Summer Masikewich was Saskatchewan's leading scorer as she added a game-high 17 points while chipping in five rebounds. The Huskies shot 47.9% from the field and 39.1% from three-point range in the win.
Taylor Claggett led the way for the Cascades as the fourth-year forward recorded 14 points on 7-16 shooting. Fraser Valley shot 37.7% from the field however, as the visitors struggled to generate consistent quality offensive looks.
After a series split in Vancouver last weekend, the Huskies moved to 2-1 with the victory. While the loss is the first of the 2018-19 Canada West regular season for the Cascades, which drops their record to 2-1.
Saskatchewan went on a 9-0 run to begin the first quarter.
After a Libby Epoch three-pointer on the first possession of the game, the bigs went to work. Masikewich got to the rim for back to back layups, while de Sousa Martins added her first points of the game, which forced an early Fraser Valley timeout.
The Huskies took an eight-point lead into the second quarter, as they outscored the Cascades 23-15 in the opening frame. Masikewich led the way for the home team, as the third-year forward from Calgary racked up six points and two rebounds. As a team, Saskatchewan was efficient shooting the basketball in the first quarter, knocking down 7-15 shots from the field.
For Fraser Valley, fourth-year forward Taylor Claggett recorded eight points on 4-6 shooting in the opening ten minutes of play.
Second-year forward Kyla Shand utilized her size on both ends in the beginning of the second quarter, as the Saskatoon native drove past her defender and finished at the hoop. She followed up the basket on the defensive end, with added a monster block, before adding her second basket of the game with a beautiful hook shot the very next trip down the floor.
Those points were part of a 16-5 Huskies run to begin the second quarter, but Fraser Valley responded with a run of their own as Victoria Jacobse, and Kate Head knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to cut the Saskatchewan lead to 13.
However, the Huskies entered the half time break with a 42-26 lead, as a balanced attack paced the number five ranked team in the nation. Ten of the twelve Saskatchewan players who entered the game added points in the opening half. Masikewich, Megan Ahlstrom and Kelsey Lalor each led the way with six points throughout the opening twenty minutes.
Fraser Valley shot 50% from three-point range in the second quarter but was unable to reel themselves back into the game as they struggled to stop the Huskies on the defensive end.
Out of the break Saskatchewan continued to build on their first-half momentum, as the team jumped out on a 12-4 run at the beginning of the third quarter.
The Huskies players down-low had their way in the third, as de Sousa Martins dominated throughout the quarter, scoring eight points and adding six rebounds for the home side.
Saskatchewan entered the fourth quarter with a 61-38 lead, after outscoring the Cascades 19-12 in the third.
That lead would continue to be extended in the final quarter of play.
Masikewich made back-to back-baskets before Maya Olynyk's three-pointer extended Saskatchewan's lead to 32.
The Huskies received tremendous production from their entire roster, which eventually took a toll on the Cascades, as they outscored the visitors 26-9 in the final quarter of the contest to finish the game up by 40 points.
These two teams meet again on Nov. 3 at the PAC with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and that game can be watched live canadawest.tv