Jazdarehee and Tamminen combine for 29 points in Heat loss. Rematch Saturday at 5 p.m.
Women’s Basketball (Canada West conference play)
|Thompson Rivers (13-1)||21||12||20||19||72|
|UBC Okanagan (4-10)||18||13||9||19||59|
KELOWNA, B.C. – In a turnaround matchup from a few weekends prior, the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball would hang tough with the visiting Thompson Rivers WolfPack, yet ultimately miss the chance to steal the win in a 72-59 result Friday night in favour of the Kamloops squad.
Breathing down the necks of the division-leading WolfPack while trailing 33-31 coming out of the half, the Heat looked poised to avenge a pair of blowout losses in Kamloops January 9th and 10th. However, a lackluster third quarter would see them face a thirteen point deficit heading into the final ten minutes.
Still, determined to not go down quietly, second-year Shenelle Tamminen (Calgary, AB) would nail a pair of quick threes at the start of the period to cut the lead to seven. In the first three and a half minutes of the frame the Heat went on a 12-5 run to cut the deficit to six, 58-52. With under two minutes to go, Kassie Colonna sunk a layup to put the lead back up to twelve points. The Heat would go through an untimely scoring drought the rest of the way as Thompson Rivers wrapped things up on a 6-2 run for the final possessions.
Tamminen would wind up with 13 points on the night. Third-year guard Jessica Jazdarehee (Coquitlam, BC) would lead the team with 14 to go alongside a team-high eight boards. Jazdarehee was also the team’s lead scorer back on January 10th with 13.
Second-year point guard Claire Elliott received Heat Player of the Game Honours with eight points and seven rebounds, though her efforts were mostly felt on the defensive end.
First-year guard Emma Piggin led the charge for the ‘Pack with a game-high 19 points. She would complete a double-double with 13 boards alongside her scoring. Four of the five Kamloops starters would reach double digit scoring with veterans Jorri Duxbury, Kassie Colonna, and Taiysa Worsfold each filling the cup for 14, 12, and 10 points, respectively.
The Heat’s perimeter defense was vastly improved in their third matchup with the WolfPack, as they held their opponents to a low 16% from the arc. The Heat would in turn sink eight of their own threes at a 31% clip.
“Last time we played them they took 27 [three pointers], which they made 15 of them,” explained Heat coach Heather Semeniuk postgame, elaborating on the key difference that saw her squad close the gap compared to the teams’ last outing. “This time they shot 3-19. The difference was the three point line … We out shot them.”
The rebound margin hurt the home team the most, as Thompson Rivers bullied their way to the top of the battle of the boards in a 57-41 margin, accumulating 19 second chance points along the way.
“They are a more physical team, and we are a fairly small compared to them,” said Elliott of the physical nature of the matchup. “We had to anticipate a lot on defence and be ready for all their screens, and be ready to make the switch ahead of time. We had to look ahead and anticipate a little bit. We had to not give up and just not let down, so they could push back. I think we did a really good job of adjusting [later on] and making the switches ahead of time so we could be in front and so they could back down on us.”
With the win, the Explorer Division-leading Thompson Rivers improve to a record of 14-1, maintaining an impressive twelve-game winning streak. With only five games remaining in the season, they have already secured a playoff berth and look to host the first round in a few weeks’ time.
Meanwhile, UBC Okanagan drops to 4-11, and will need a win tomorrow to remain alive in the playoff hunt.
Both teams will be back at it tomorrow night to close out their four-game series this season at the UBC Okanagan gymnasium. Tip-off is at 5 p.m.
Watch the action online and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.
HEAT NOTES: The President’s Cup, an annual award given between these two schools, will be on the line tomorrow night. Awarded based on cumulative wins across all varsity sports, the women’s category is tied at 3-3 following TRU’s win tonight. The Heat are currently reigning cup holders, and look to upset the ‘Pack and keep the Cup tomorrow … “I think that it all comes down to tonight, and getting a good sleep and eating well,” said Elliott of the preparation for tomorrow. “And tomorrow it starts at shoot. We have to get some good shots off and work hard. The coaches are going to throw some new things at us, so we’ll have to learn whatever they give us and adjust to that in the game.”