From the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The University of the Fraser Valley Women’s Basketball team doubled down – actually, make that tripled down – on recruiting from the roster of the Terry Fox Ravens, signing a trio of teammates from B.C.’s No. 1-ranked high school girls basketball team.
Ana-Maria Misic, Alisha Weloy and Lauren Clements have accomplished a great deal together on the basketball court, not only with their Port Coquitlam-based high school program, but dating all the way back to their elementary school days.
Among the highlights: During their Grade 9 year, the trio helped their Terry Fox junior girls squad win the B.C. championship, posting a flawless 35-0 record along the way. As Grade 10s, they played up on the Ravens’ senior girls squad, winning a provincial 4A silver medal. After losing their Grade 11 high school season due to COVID-19, their Ravens open the 2021-22 campaign at No. 1 in the provincial 4A rankings and are heavy favourites to win another B.C. crown.
Misic, Weloy and Clements have also suited up for Basketball BC provincial teams together, and excelled on the club basketball scene with the Poco Galaxy and Excel Basketball.
“This is a group of kids who have been playing together for a long, long time, right from their elementary school days,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “They’re really familiar with each other, and still the best of friends after all that travel and all those years.”
“They’ve won a lot throughout the years, and I don’t think you can ever underestimate players like that who know how to win. We’re excited about infusing their winning pedigree into our program.”
Misic brings a versatile skillset to the hardwood, making an impact at both ends of the floor. She won the top defensive player award at the 2019 B.C. junior championships, and was a first team all-star at the 2020 senior provincials. She also earned accolades on the club scene, picking up all-star nods at the Western Canadian championships and Basketball Nationals.
“Ana has a great work ethic,” Tuchscherer enthused. “She has a diverse game, in that she can play at both ends of the floor equally well. She can defend, she can play a little bit inside, and she’s become a pretty good shooter. There’s a lot of versatility in her game that we like, and we’re excited to bring her into the fold.”
“I chose UFV because they have a great team of diverse players and outstanding coaching staff,” said Misic, who plans to enroll in kinesiology at UFV. “Throughout the summer camps at UFV I felt welcomed by the players, and I was able to observe the support and love within the Cascades basketball community. The Cascades’ high level of intensity, work ethic and bond within the team caught my attention.
“My goal is to expand my athletic skills while playing at the next level. I hope to gain more knowledge from my future UFV teammates and coaches, so that I can increase my basketball IQ. I also hope to successfully complete my studies while maintaining a high GPA.”
Weloy has fashioned a reputation as a dominant defensive player. She was the top defensive player at 4A senior provincials in 2020 as the Ravens won silver, and was player of the game in the 2019 B.C. junior final. She was also a starter with the B.C. provincial squad.
“Alisha is one of those special types of players who really loves to play defence,” Tuchscherer noted. “She builds her game from the defensive end of the floor, and we’re really excited about that. We take a lot of pride in defence ourselves, so she’s a great fit for our program. You can’t sleep on her offence, either – she can shoot it, she can put the ball on the ground, and she can pass – but defence is her calling card.”
“I’ve chosen UFV for four reasons,” Weloy explained. “Through all my research I found that UFV has a very good academic reputation for my kinesiology studies. Also, there seemed to be a lot of support from students, professors and coaches towards student success. Additionally, when I visited the campus I liked the atmosphere, class sizes and the friendly environment. Finally, the women’s basketball team and coaches made me feel welcomed into their family when I had the privilege to scrimmage with them over the summer.
“My goals for my time with the Cascades are to become an all-star basketball player, to win the championship, as well as to finish with a degree in kinesiology.”
Clements is a dynamic offensive player who averages 16 points per game. She was a first team all-star as the Ravens won junior girls provincials in 2019, and was MVP of the Big Ticket tournament the following season at the senior level. She’s also earned a pair of female athlete of the year awards (junior and senior) at Terry Fox Secondary.
“Lauren really loves to score, and she can do it in a variety of ways,” Tuchscherer said. “She’s comfortable with the ball in her hands – she can shoot it, she can attack off the dribble, and she’s a tenacious rebounder. We’re really going to welcome the offence that she’s going to bring to our team.”
“I chose UFV because of the coaches of the women’s basketball team and the environment that the school brings,” said Clements, who will pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. “I also know the location well and I like it a lot, especially the wide-open space and nature, and I can imagine living on campus for the next few years. The school also has a wide range of classes that interest me, and I know I’ll have support to accomplish my goals in sports and academics.
“My goals are to enjoy the time I have at the school, meet new people, and try new things. I will try my best and put in the work to make my years special and worth my time. My dream is, once I graduate, to have the knowledge to pursue a career in film and to create memories that stay with me for my whole life.”