Game tying three from Sarah Allison hits front rim and doesn’t drop as the Heat fall to UFV 70-67 in Abbotsford Friday night. Teams rematch for the last time this season Saturday at 5 p.m.
Women’s Basketball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (4-9)||13||24||14||16||67|
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Another near miss at the upset, in what was an eerily similar game to the first time these two teams met at the start of season as the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball fell 70-67 to the host Fraser Valley Cascades at the Envision Athletics Centre in Abbotsford Friday (Jan. 23) night.
Earlier this year, in the home opener on Nov. 7, the Heat were up three when Sarah Allison committed a touch foul on Kaitlyn McDonald’s three point shot just before the buzzer, sending McDonald to the line to hit all three free throws and send the game to OT which eventually ended in the favour of UFV (82-75).
In Abbotsford, with the Heat trailing by three Allison once again was involved in the final play, unfortunately her three hit the front rim, with no foul called, and bounced off to give the Cascades the victory.
“That was too bad we didn’t grab that one,” commented Heat coach Heather Semeniuk post-game, with the loss UBC Okanagan falls to 4-9 on the season, and have yet to beat the Cascades in a Canada West contest, 0-8 all time, three straight this year.
The defending CIS Bronze medalists – who were celebrating their eighth annual Shoot for the Cure night in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – tightened their hold on the third and final playoff spot in the Explorer Division by moving to 7-6.
The two teams play again tomorrow at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre (5 p.m. tip-off).
Allison finished the night as the Heat’s second leading point getter with 15. Third year guard Jessica Jazdarehee led the team with second double-double this season (both against UFV) as she poured in 17 points and brought down 10 boards.
In spite of the solid night by Jazdarehee and Allison coach Semeniuk had no doubt that second year guard Olivia Johnson was her standout.
Johnson played her usual standout defense but Semeniuk made notice of how the offense was dragging early on and it was Johnson, who averages just 1.1 points per game, scored two early baskets and finished with six points on the night.
“Olivia steps up and hits shots early in the game. She just did it,” said coach Semeniuk, who is retiring at the end of this season and has just seven regular season games left to coach. “She was definitely the player of the game.”
It was a historic night for Cascades fifth year post Sarah Wierks, as she moved into second place on the all-time Canada West rebounding list, it was fitting that she came up with a clutch offensive board to help her team close out a hard-fought win over the UBC Okanagan Heat.
With the Cascades leading 68-67 with 15.8 seconds left in regulation, Katie Brink went to the line for two free throws. She made the first and missed the second, but Wierks chased down the loose ball to force the Heat into a fouling situation.
Nataliia Gavryliuk took the foul and made one of two free throws to give the Cascades a 70-67 lead, and that would be the final score as UBC Okanagan’s Sarah Allison came up short on her potential game-tying three-pointer against a strong close-out from UFV point guard Celeste Dyck.
“It’s a different game when she’s in there, because she cleans up so much and creates so many second-chance opportunities,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said of Wierks, who finished with game-high totals of 22 points and 18 rebounds. “What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Almost another 20-20 game tonight. She was great.”
UBC Okanagan coach Heather Semeniuk found something to say, describing Wierks as “a wrecking crew against us,” adding that “there is really not much else we can do.” in trying to stop the prolific rebounder.
Wierks, the Cascades’ fifth-year centre, came into the game with 908 rebounds over the course of her career, four back of former Calgary Dinos great Janis Paskevich. She needed less than seven minutes to grab five boards and leapfrog Paskevich, and she finished the night with 926 career rebounds, second only in conference history to Saskatchewan Huskies legend Sarah Crooks (1,181 rebounds).
The Cascades led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter, but the Heat came roaring back to take a 37-35 lead going into halftime, ending the second quarter on an 11-4 run.
UBC Okanagan stretched the lead to 49-39 midway through the third quarter, but the Cascades reeled off an 11-0 run to reclaim the lead.
The score was tied on three occasions early in the fourth quarter, but UFV put together an 8-0 spurt, highlighted by a pair of Wierks layups, and seemed well in control leading 68-60 with less than four minutes remaining.
The Heat refused to be snuffed, though – they scored the next seven points, capped by an Allison triple with a minute and a half to go.
UFV dug in on defence, and Wierks’s offensive rebound in the dying seconds helped to salt the game away.
Brink chipped in with 17 points and Gavryliuk notched 15 for the Cascades.
Tomorrow’s rematch can be seen online and at canadawest.tv.
~ With notes from Dan Kinvig (Communications Coordinator | University of the Fraser Valley Cascades)