DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Faith Hezekiah picked up right where she left off last season.
After posting 12 double-doubles in 2018-19, the fifth-year senior ordered up another one Friday night, leading the Winnipeg Wesmen to a 77-62 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canada West conference opener for both teams.
Hezekiah posted game-highs with 23 points and 15 rebounds, and was 7-for-11 from the field as the Wesmen weathered a couple of Fraser Valley runs after building an early lead.
The Wesmen (1-0) used a 10-0 run to start the game to set the tone early and led by as many as 18 in the third quarter. UFV, however, managed to knock that advantage down to five points in the fourth quarter with Hezekiah in foul trouble and the Wesmen in a lull offensively.
"I give credit to (UFV). They just kept fighting," Winnipeg head coach Tanya McKay said. "When we did get up, they came back. On our side, it was important for us to continue to be deep in our rotations and some of the mistakes we were making were some youth mistakes. I think in the end the kids finally decided to their jobs consistently."
Freshman Anna Kernaghan, making her Canada West debut and first career conference start, had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. Lena Wenke scored eight of the team's first 18 points and finished with 16.
For the Cascades, that first-quarter deficit was indicative of a recurring problem the team has had throughout the pre-season, head coach Al Tuchscherer said.
"I just don't think we know what it takes to win at this level yet," Tuchscherer said.
"... It's been an ongoing thing throughout the pre-season where we really come out to start games and we're quite flat. It's already bit us a couple times so it's an ongoing challenge for us that we've gotta figure out here pretty quick."
Taylor Claggett had 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Cascades, who also got 11 points from Maddy Gobeil and 10 from Jessica Parker.
The teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.