At half-time, the UNBC Timberwolves trailed one of the best teams in the country by five points. A nice accomplishment, to be sure.
In the second half, the Timberwolves lost their composure and, with it, their chance at pulling off a massive upset.
In a Canada West women's basketball game played Friday night in Abbotsford, the T-wolves dropped a 67-42 decision to the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. UFV started the night as the fourth-ranked team in Canada.
Against UNBC, a newcomer to Canada West this season, the Cascades cranked up the heat in those last 20 minutes and the Timberwolves didn't respond well.
"They came out very, very physical and we got frustrated," said UNBC coach Loralyn Murdoch. "We turned the ball over 37 times [in the game] so that was a huge factor. We matched them in every category, except for turnovers. They had 24 more possessions than we did.
"They used a sporadic press [on defence] and we just handled it very poorly," Murdoch added. "It was kind of a complete meltdown."
Both teams shot relatively poorly all game. The Cascades led just 9-6 after the first quarter and 23-18 at the half -- their lowest 20-minute total of the season.
In the third quarter, the hosts broke things open right away with three quick baskets. That spurred a 10-0 scoring run, which proved to be the turning point in the contest. The Cascades outscored the T-wolves 24-15 in the third and 20-9 in the fourth. With the win, they improved their Pacific Division-leading record to 12-3 and dropped the Timberwolves to 6-9.
Sarah Wierks paced UFV with 15 points. For UNBC, Sarah Robin scored 12 and Kady Dandeneau added eight.
When the Cascades and Timberwolves meet again tonight, Murdoch will be looking for her players to do a better job of protecting the basketball.
"We have to be more supportive of our teammates and not kind of hang them out to dry," she said. "We have to make sure they have places to pass and people coming to the ball and not just rely on our guards to bring it up."
In men's action later Friday night, the Cascades beat the Timberwolves 86-65 to end a four-game losing streak and extend a UNBC skid to five games. The Cascades pushed their record to 8-7 and the T-wolves slipped to 5-10. UNBC hasn't yet won in 2013.