UBC Okanagan never trails for first four quarters, barely miss chance to upset the preseason Explorer division favourites
Women's Basketball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (0-1)||23||20||16||11||5||75|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Three clutch free throws in the final half-second of play by the visiting UFV Cascades’ Kaitlyn McDonald gave the preseason women’s basketball Explorer division favourites enough time to beat an otherwise dominant UBC Okanagan Heat team at home 82-75 in the season opener Friday night.
The Cascades victory spoiled a monster night from the Heat’s starting two-guard Sarah Allison (Surrey, BC), who lit their Surrey opponents for 28 points (9-21) to go alongside four rebounds and two assists. She was the team’s Player of the Game.
Energy and hustle was a major difference in the home squad’s commanding performance for most of the first half of play. By the midway mark the Heat had forced 17 turnovers while only coughing up eight themselves, and excellent ball movement led to pinpoint passes into the interior for easy buckets as they also tallied ten assists to UFV’s three.
A big second-half propelled the Cascades back into contention as they outscored the Heat 39-27 in the final two frames to eventually set up that fateful opportunity to force overtime.
The Cascades took control in the extra period and coasted to a seven point edge for their eventual victory.
Despite the loss, Heat coach Heather Semeniuk eschewed her confidence in a team that looks to have built a fresh identity the whole roster over to try and make some noise in the league this year. “All I can say is that the first year kids are better at second year,” she went on to say, “and the second year kids are better at third, and so on. They’re just playing better.”
Third-year guard Jessica Jazdarehee (Coquitlam, BC) joined Allison in double-digit scoring for the Heat with 12 points to complete a double-double alongside 11 rebounds. As a team the Heat would force out 28 turnovers while limiting their errors to 19.
Four of the five Cascades starters got to double-digit scoring numbers, with third-year Kiev Ukraine product Natalia Gavryliuk pouring in a team-high 18 in a double-double night with 10 rebounds as well at the guard spot. Fifth-year forward Sarah Wierks (Chilliwack, BC) joined the double-double crew as she wrangled her way to a game-high 16 rebounds alongside her 11 points.
The Cascades now open the season 1-0 while the Heat start 0-1. Both teams will see each other again on UBC Okanagan hardwood tomorrow at 5 p.m., where the home team will hope to quickly forget tonight and earn the weekend split.
“All I said to the team was ‘There’s no one reason why we lose the game ever,’” said Semeniuk, explaining her conversation in the locker room postgame. “You roll it back, we missed two free throws. You roll it back again … so what are you really going to blame it on?”
Watch the action online and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.