The UFV Cascades women's basketball team took two steps into a larger world last week with a pair of exhibition games against the NCAA's University of Mississippi Rebels.
The Cascades, fresh off their first Canada West playoff series victory since joining the CIS conference in 2006, lost both contests to the Division I Ole Miss Rebels last week at the Envision Athletic Centre by scores of 77-59 in a late scheduled game Wednesday and 85-69 on Friday.
The results may not have been what the Cascades we're hoping for, but it's something to build on, said first-year forward Katie Brink.
"I think as a team it was just all about us getting that chemistry because we've never really all played together," said Brink, a graduate of W.J. Mouat who was praised by head coach Al Tuchscherer for her play.
"We played really well. It was just rebounding that was really the only thing we needed to pick up.
"The other team said they were surprised with how strong we were, which is a good thing to hear because we're just a little Canadian team."
Brink was one of four rookies to make their debut last week against Ole Miss, which was making its first ever stop north of the border.
She called the experience of going up against the highly touted Rebels a "wake up call."
"It was really nerve-wracking because it was my first university game," she said.
"Once you get in there, you just have to get used to it until the nerves go away. It's all about being tough in there."
A good showing versus the Rebels only increased optimism with the verging Canada West squad.
"It's so exciting because it makes us believe we have a really good chance this year," said Brink.
The Cascades are back to work this week in preparation for Sunday's exhibition game against the University of Louisville.