UFV’s Shayna Litman hopes to lead her team back to the playoffs this weekend. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Season on the line for UFV women’s b-ball

Cascades women hold playoff destiny in their hands against Manitoba

The UFV Cascades women’s basketball team’s mission is simple for the final weekend of the Canada West regular season: Win and they’re in.

The women host the Manitoba Bisons today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday), and can finish as high as 11th place in the conference if all goes well.

The club currently occupies the 12th and final playoff spot, but will be battling the Bisons and the TRU WolfPack to qualify for the postseason, and one of those teams will be on the outside looking in after Saturday’s results.

UFV holds the tiebreaker over the WolfPack, who host the lowly Brandon Bobcats this weekend. The simplest way to break it down is, the Cascades control their playoff destiny. Two wins this weekend means they’re in the playoffs for an eighth straight season. Anything less, and they’re sweating out the TRU-Brandon results.

“We need to do some things that maybe we haven’t done consistently all year – we need to defend, rebound, and hunt great shots,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “When we do those things, we’re a pretty good team. When we don’t, we make it pretty tough for ourselves.”

One thing for certain is that this weekend marks the final games for Cascades fifth-year players Shayna Litman and Sara Simovic.

Litman is the final player remaining from the Cascades national bronze medal-winning team of 2013-14, and has had a memorable six-year run with the program, even going back further to time she spent playing youth basketball with the Junior Cascades program. She leads the team in scoring this season with 15.9 points per game.

Simovic has been a backcourt leader for the Cascades the past two seasons, and is second on the team in scoring (14.6 ppg) and first in assists.

This weekend marks the end of the line for the Cascades men’s team, after they were eliminated from the playoffs last week.

The club can play the role of spoiler, as they host the Bisons, who are looking to punch their ticket to the postseason.

Cascades head coach Adam Friesen wants to see who steps up for his team for the final two games.

“The motivation for us is just to continue growing – gaining experience, playing as hard as we can,” Friesen said. “We expect that next year is going to be different than this year in terms of the win-loss column, but how big a change is going to be dictated by the character we show playing in these types of games – how badly do people want it? They’re going to have to show each other and show themselves on a weekend like this.”

Games run today at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and tomorrow at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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