Ali Baggott

The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team were forced to split their home weekend after a 73-71 loss to the Fraser Valley Cascades on Jan. 12 at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria. With the win the Cascades improve to 10-6, while the Vikes fall to 8-6.

For the Vikes it was the opposite of a performance both from the Cascades tonight and from their own performance last night as fifth year Amira Giannattasio appeared to be the only Vike out to compete. The senior guard finished with 28 points to put her at 1,398 career points passing former team mate Jenna Bugiardini(1,394) and former Vike Debbie Yeboah (1,368) to be the third-highest Vike in career scoring. Ahead of her are just Lisa Koop (1660), Carol Turney-Loos (646) and Luanne Hebb (1530). Vikes Katie Langdon and Ashlyn Day each added 10 points in the loss.

“Fraser Valley hit some tough shots and we had trouble guarding their bigs and rebounding,” described Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “I thought UFV played a lot tougher than we did. We were rushing shots and our turnovers really hurt us a lot so we were putting people in tough positions with our passes and people were just rushing things.”

For the Cascades, Veronica Kobes had 15 points in the second half to finish with a team-high 17 points and six rebounds. Fraser Valley had five players in double-digit scoring including Amanda Thompson with 15, Kate Head with 13 and Taylor Claggett and Madeline Beerwald each with 12. The trio of Thompson, Head and Claggett played nearly every minute of the game, while 21 points came from the bench.

It was an even opening quarter that gave little room for either side. The Vikes edged the Cascades 19-17 with Fraser Valley’s point guard Head’s spirited effort working well for the visitors. The third year put up seven points, while Giannattasio equaled her in scoring. Both teams traded turnovers, while shots that seemed to fall for the Vikes a night previous just wouldn’t drop.

A pair of jumpers from Beerwald followed by some strong play in the paint from Claggett got the Cascades up 23-19 after six unanswered points. A feisty cut to the hoop by Vikes guard Calli McMillan allowed her shot to kiss the class and fall for a tying 23-23 score line still early in the second. McMillan’s energy seemed to calm the Vikes as she set up Day for a jumper to keep the home side up 25-24. The Vikes got up by six on a layup from Day but Fraser Valley’s Thompson hit an uncontested three and then another jumper to cut the Vikes’ lead to one, 30-29, with two minutes in the half.

The Vikes nabbed a 37-33 lead heading into half time after out-scoring the Cascades 18-16.

The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair despite the Vikes grabbing their largest lead so far, up by 11 early on. The Cascades out-scored the home side 22-20 thanks to the finishing efforts of Kobes off the bench as well as Thompson and Claggett. For the Vikes it was very much left in the hands of Giannattasio, while McMillan continued to create the opportunities. The Vikes led 57-55 heading in to the final frame.

Turnovers and fouls plagued the home side in the final stretch as the Cascades moved the ball well to set up several different scorers. Beerwald tied the game 57-57 at the start of the fourth and from there a pair of free throws from Head combined with a bucket from each of Claggett and Kobes lifted the Cascades to their largest lead, up by six, 65-59, with six minutes to go.

A much-needed steal from Aleah Ashlee set up Giannattasio for an easy lay-up to get the Vikes within two, trailing 65-63 with 3:21 left in the fourth. Six-foot-two Kobes responded for the Cascades and the teams continued to trade buckets with Vikes’ Langdon battling hard in the key to keep the Vikes just a possession behind. A pocket of free throws from McMillan tied the game at 67-67 with 2:28 on the clock.

With Victoria Jacobse fouled out, Kobes put the Cascades on her back to pick up some key offensive boards and seal the lay ups to keep her team ahead late down the stretch. Day did all the work to get an important layup for the Vikes, to trail 73-70. With 1.9 seconds on the clock, Vikes’ Ashlee was fouled on a three-point attempt but was good on only her first bucket to concede the game 73-71 to Fraser Valley.

“I look at a lot of what we gave up tonight was through our own mistakes so there are controllables there and we just have to figure out a way to do that,” added Sinclair.

The Vikes will prepare to travel to Lethbridge next weekend, Jan. 18-19, while Fraser Vallley’s next match ups are at home against the Calgary Dinos, Jan. 25-26. All games are available live on pay-per-view at canadawest.tv.

SCORING SUMMARY
UFV: 17-16-22-18 : 73
VIC: 19-18-20-14 : 71

SCORING LEADERS
UFV: Veronica Kobes (17), Angela Thompson (15), Kate Head (13)
VIC: Amira Giannattasio (28), Katie Langdon (10), Ashlyn Day (10)