Jazdarehee pours in game-high 20 points and Heat go 2-2 with Explorer Division opponent. Head to Fraser Valley next weekend.
|Mount Royal (4-8)||14||20||19||18||71|
|UBC Okanagan (4-8)||18||18||19||23||78|
KELOWNA, B.C. – The host UBC Okanagan Heat women's basketball team exacted revenge from a night prior by downing the visiting Mount Royal Cougars 78-71 in the last of four meetings between the two Explorer Division foes, evening the season series at 2-2.
The Heat’s Jessica Jazdarehee (Coquitlam, BC) had a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds en route to Player of the Game honours.
The Heat opened up out of the gate with an 8-0 run, and wound up on top 18-14 by the end of the first quarter, a significantly lower scoring quarter from a night prior.
The Cougars pounced back and won the second quarter, but a contested baseline jumper went down by second-year Olivia Johnson (Kelowna, BC) in the latter stages of the half kept the Heat up 36-34 after 20 minutes.
The two evenly matched squads were neck-and-neck yet again in the third quarter, playing to 55-53 in favour the Heat. The Cougars would hit a bit of bad luck, however, when star rookies Jayla Verney (Halifax, NS), who had a game-high 19 in the previous night’s matchup, and Tyleigha Nelson (Halifax, NS) each picked up their fourth personal fouls and were forced to sit until more than half way through the fourth quarter.
The Heat were unable to capitalize on both players’ absences until five minutes into the final frame when last night’s Heat hero in Kayla McFadden led a 7-0 charge in just over a minute, scoring five points to take a 68-61 lead. Both Verney and Nelson would eventually foul out, further complicating Mount Royal’s comeback.
A pair of incredible long three-balls in the final minute by Cougars’ first-year Drew Knox (Sherwood Park, AB) kept the final in question, but ultimately the Okanagan squad would shoot free-throws to their 78-71 result.
McFadden had 13 points behind Jazdarehee’s 20 to go with three rebounds and one block. Second-year guard Claire Elliott (North Vancouver, BC) netted 11 points with six rebounds.
Knox led the Cougars with 18 points, all of them from three-point line. Desiree Oakley (Halifax, NS) added 13 points. Verney had seven points in only 17 minutes of floor time.
The Heat made significant adjustments on defense from a night prior, and their work showed in limiting the Cougars to 35% shooting. Meanwhile, they also improved their own shooting to hit the 41% mark.
“We adjusted to how they played defense, so instead of playing four-one we played five-out, and we were able to attack the rim a lot easier than when the key was a lot more crowded,” said Elliott postgame. “We also used each other a lot better.”
“We tried to focus on getting a reversal before we drove to the hoop so we could tire out their defense and get a better option,” added McFadden with regards to better ball movement and distribution by the Heat.
Both teams shot in excess of 70% from the free-throw line, but the Heat doubled their trips to the line with 34 attempts to the Cougars’ 17. The Cougars would narrowly win the battle of the boards though, 41-39, due to a larger offensive rebound differential.
UBC Okanagan now equals Mount Royals' record of 4-8, and both now chase the 6-6 Fraser Valley Cascades for the third and final playoff seed in the Explorers Division.
“This was the kind of game that we needed to motivate us and teach us that we need to use each other more to be successful,” Elliott reflected when asked to contemplate the playoff chase. “So it was a good starting point for what we have to do if we want to make the playoffs.”
The Heat hit the road to Fraser Valley next weekend while Mount Royal returns home to host UNBC. Tip-off in Abbotsford is 6 p.m. PST and 6 p.m. MST in Calgary.
Watch the action online at home and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.
HEAT NOTES…The CIS Shoot for the Cure night was tonight, and UBC Okanagan collected $285 through various donations, t-shirt sales, and raffle tickets. The CIS has raised over $760,000 since 2007 towards cancer research, $633,000 of which has gone to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation alone.