Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – A slow start gave way to a torrid finish for the University of the Fraser Valley women's basketball team, as a memorable shooting performance from Amanda Thompson sparked the hosts to a 71-50 victory over the Brandon Bobcats at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
Thompson, a third-year guard from Abbotsford, B.C., knocked down seven three-pointers to tie a program record for threes made in Canada West play. Those long-distance shots accounted for all of her 21 points.
Taylor Claggett also had a huge night for the Cascades with a game-high 24 points and 14 rebounds, Kate Head chipped in with 10 points and four assists, and Veronica Kobes came off the bench to rack up eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
Lauren Anderson replied with a double-double of her own (15 points, 14 rebounds) for the Bobcats, and Logan Biccum scored 11.
The Cascades' fifth straight win boosted their record to 8-5, good for sixth place in Canada West, while the Bobcats fell to 2-9. The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday (5 p.m., EFAC, CanadaWest.tv).
"I thought it was kind of a cautious, nervous first quarter for us," Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. "You could tell we weren't quite sharp with our game. But I thought the second quarter gave us a bit of a boost – we came out and knocked down some shots, and managed to maintain that through the second half and come out with a big win."
Most of those shots came courtesy of Thompson. The Bobcats held a slender 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Thompson caught fire in the second, swishing four treys in the frame. Head also came through with a big shot from distance, beating the halftime buzzer as the hosts grabbed a 30-26 edge at the break.
Thompson continued to cook in the third quarter, knocking down another trio of triples to complement Claggett's relentless inside game as UFV pushed the advantage to 54-43. They continued to pull away in the fourth quarter.
"It feels great, honestly," Thompson said, reflecting on her pyrotechnics from downtown. "This past week and the week before that, I was shooting a lot, getting in the gym and ramping up my shot, getting ready for this weekend. I air-balled my first three, and I was just like, 'Whatever, it's gone, just keep shooting.' That's the mentality I'm going in with tomorrow, too."
"She came in and hit some really timely shots for us, and then she just got on a roll," Tuchscherer said of Thompson. "We've seen her do that before in a couple exhibition games, and even in a couple of conference games she's hit four or five. She can get on that sort of role, and tonight, they were all important shots."
Tuchscherer believes his team still has areas of its game to tighten up, though, most notably its ball-screen defence.
"I thought we really struggled with that, and we'll have to do a better job tomorrow," he said. "They'll come out hungry, and we'll have to be ready to come out strong again."
BOUNCE PASSES: Thompson's seven-trey outburst marks the fourth time a UFV women's player has accomplished the feat in Canada West play. Aieisha Luyken did it twice (Nov. 13, 2010 vs. Victoria; Jan. 26, 2013 vs. UBC) and Sydney Williams once (Jan. 13, 2017 vs. Calgary). . . . The Cascades' all-time record for threes in a game during the Canada West/U SPORTS era, including exhibition play, is held by Carmella Silvestri. She rained down 10 triples on the Capilano Blues on Oct. 13, 2007. . . . The Canada West mark for threes in a game is nine, held jointly by Caitlin Gooch (Winnipeg Wesmen, 2011), Cassie Cooke (Brandon Bobcats, 2013) and Jessie Brown (TWU Spartans, 2015).