KELOWNA, B.C. – Vanessa Botteselle from St. Thomas Aquinas High School has committed to her suitors with the UBC Okanagan Heat and will suit up in the blue and gold for women’s basketball as they take on their fourth Canada West journey in 2014-15.
The 5’7 point guard and Lower Mainland Zone Championships MVP will bring a great floor general mentality to help orchestrate the team’s offense with some added passing ability to set up the team’s cast of shooters.
Averaging 22 points and five assists per contest in her grade twelve season, Botteselle also posted a monster 29 point game against the then-third ranked Vernon Panthers. Even the 29 point game likely paled in comparison to her Saints' December trip this past year in which her team found themselves with two hours of floor time on the court at the Barclay Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.
Botteselle led her Fighting Saints squad at the Provincial Championships all the way to the final bout, but Windsor would ultimately prevail in overtime leaving STA with the silver medal. She went on to receive First-Team Tournament All-Star honours.
During her school’s offseason Botteselle has played for Team BC’s U16 and U17 squads as well as participated with the 3D Basketball Academy. Her U16 Provincial Team won the Western Canadian Championships.
When she wasn’t dribbling the ball on hardwood, Botteselle would often find herself kicking one on a turf. She doubled the previous five years as both a soccer and basketball player, but chose to focus on basketball for her senior year in high school. In addition, she played for the North Shore Girls Soccer Club Metro team from grade eight through eleven.
Botteselle has been on Heat coach Heather Semeniuk’s radar for some time now, and is thrilled that the North Vancouver native has chosen the Okanagan for her post-secondary athletic and academic home.
“I am excited that Vanessa chose UBCO and will be on our roster for next season,” said Semeniuk of the addition. “Her speed, agility and court awareness will add another dimension to our backcourt game. She defends well, competes hard and knows what it takes to win games. Vanessa has shown she is capable of taking her game to the CIS level.”
Botteselle appreciates the physical stress and demands of playing at the CIS level, and is already preparing for the jump in play.
“I am ready for the challenge of playing at the next level,” she said. “There are some things I need to do to prepare myself for university basketball. I need to get stronger and in better shape so that I can keep up with the faster paced game as well as with stronger girls.”
Botteselle will be enrolling in a general Arts and Sciences program to begin with at UBC Okanagan, and has expressed some interest in pursuing a career in policing. She feels as though the Kelowna school was just the right fit to pursue her academic needs and to open doors for career opportunities.
“I am unsure of what I will be studying in the long term, but I hope that through attending UBCO I will find my passion,” she reflected about her future endeavours, adding that, “I fell in love with the campus. I knew that UBCO was a good fit for me after my first visit. The coaching staff, team environment, and focus to get better are reasons I wanted to be a part of the UBCO Heat.”
The North Vancouver resident will join second year point guard Claire Elliott and fifth year guard Angela White as North Vancouver residents on the 2014-15 Heat squad that has a decidedly North Shore flavour to it this next season.