Gascoigne leads Huskies to win over Cascades

Gascoigne leads Huskies to win over Cascades

SMU moves on to consolation semifinal

(EDMONTON, ALBERTA) – Saint Mary's guard Clara Gascoigne had a game-high 18 points to lead the #3 seed Saint Mary's Huskies to a 69-42 victory over the #7 seed Fraser Valley Cascades in the U SPORTS Women's Basketball Final 8 Consolation Semifinals on Friday evening at the Saville Centre.  

With the win, the Huskies will play for fifth place in U SPORTS on Saturday at 3 p.m. MST (6 p.m. AST) against the winner of the #5 seed Alberta Pandas and the #8 seed Calgary Dinos.  

Huskies guard Courtney Donaldson chipped in 14 points including a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line, in what could have been the final game of her U SPORTS career if the Huskies didn't pull out the win. 

"Fraser Valley is a gritty team and we knew it was not going to be easy, especially bouncing back from the loss yesterday, but we had a meeting and said let's stick together and do it for us, show that we can get two more wins in this tournament and hopefully finish off the year with a win," said Donaldson post-game. 

Both teams impressed on the defensive end, but the Huskies were able to hold the sixth-best offence nationally in Fraser Valley to just a 26.8% mark from the field (15/56). They rode an insanely hot 27-point opening quarter to the final buzzer, never trailing in the contest. 

"We knew we had to match their intensity and try to get some bodies on them to not allow a lot of space," said Huskies head coach Scott Munro, adding "we did a really nice job defensively." 

It was not hard to see the Huskies gameplan early – shoot threes early and often. Six of their first eight attempts were from deep and it worked swimmingly with Saint Mary's connecting on two of those in what was an early 10-3 run to snag the momentum off the tip. The Cascades were also prevented from getting much going on their offensive end, with the Huskies escaping the first with a 27-12 lead. They hit seven threes in quarter, including two from Gascoigne who led all scorers with 10. 

The Cascades tightened up defensively in the second, with the Huskies missing their first 10 attempts from the field, but still struggled to get points on the board on the other end enroute to a 36-25 halftime deficit. The teams shot a cumulative 7-for-31 (22.5%) from the field in the frame. 

"Our shots were hitting at the very start, but the offence started drying up, and we know at those times that we can still win with our defence," said Donaldson post-game. "Our defence is such a strong part of our team identity, that we know we can fall back on our defence and shots will fall eventually." 

Gascoigne led all scorers at the break with 12, while forward Julia Tuchscherer paced the Cascades with seven and added nine rebounds. 

The third was another defensive onslaught as the squads combined for just 18 points, nine apiece. The Cascades were led by Natalie Rather who had three points on perfect shooting, while the Huskies missed all 14 field goal attempts but were kept afloat with success at the line going 9/10 in the frame. They entered the final quarter up 45-34. 

"Shoutout to coach Scott Munro, every practice we have to make 10 free-throws in a row, so that had something to do with it," laughed Donaldson post-game. "But it really is trusting that work, taking a deep breath and focusing and just making those free-throws because they win games." 

Gascoigne and Saint Mary's found their stroke in the final frame, outscoring the Cascades 24-8 to put the game on ice and advance in the Consolation bracket. 

Gascoigne had three makes from deep to lead a Saint Mary's offence that popped 40 three-point attempts in the game – 21 more than the Cascades. Lucina Beaumont flanked her with a double-double, recording 12 points and 11 rebounds in the win, while Donaldson added 14. 

Forward Julia Tuchscherer was a bright spot for the Cascades as her 12 points and 15 rebounds were both team-highs, and she was named UFV's Player of the Game. 

Fraser Valley, the Canada West bronze medalists, finish their tournament 0-2 but still record their best national finish since their last appearance in 2014. 

The Huskies will play in the Consolation Final tomorrow at 3PM MST against the winner of tonight's Consolation Semifinal featuring the #5 Alberta Pandas and the #8 Calgary Dinos. 

Players of the Game 

Saint Mary's: #8 Clara Gascoigne 
Fraser Valley: #10 Julia Tuchscherer 

Recap by Allan April, SMU Huskies
Photo by U SPORTS 

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