Semeniuk now wins both her first and final game of her storied career on the Heat bench as UBC Okanagan beats UNBC 65-49 at home for win number six. Heat family sends White, Sadler, and coach “Sem” out in style
Women’s Basketball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (6-14)||19||16||12||18||65|
KELOWNA, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan Heat captured their sixth win of the season Friday night, tying a career-high mark set by the school two years prior after beating the UNBC Timberwolves 65-49 at home to close out the regular season for both squads.
The victory is sweet for the Heat, who send out a pair of seniors in Angela White (Vancouver, BC) and Tia Sadler (Golden, BC), as well as head coach Heather Semeniuk, who is now set to retire after 21 years on the bench.
The Heat’s Sarah Allison dumped in a game-high 21 points in the effort to collect Player of the Game Honours.
The Timberwolves would win the first quarter 22-19, but an inability to fill the cup in the second and third quarters would be costly, as they managed only nine in the former and three points in the latter.
Vasiliki Louka had 12 points and 11 rebounds to complete the double-double performance for the Timberwolves.
UNBC also bids farewell to a pair of seniors in Kellieanne Fluit (Lynden, WA), and Sarah Robin (Prince Rupert) following outstanding careers in Timberwolves uniform.
UBC Okanagan completes the season with a 6-14 record on a two-game win streak. UNBC wraps up at 2-18 with the loss.
Be sure to check canadawest.org for upcoming schedules for the 2015-16 season.
A Fond Farewell
The Heat family sends off White and Sadler after successful careers, as well as the storied Heather “Coach Sem” Semeniuk after 21 years at the helm of the program.
Following their final games representing the Heat, all three had a few words to share about their experiences at UBC Okanagan as student-athletes and coach.
Angela White: The North Vancouver native has been fond of Semeniuk as many years, happy to be mentored by her as a basketball player and as a person.
“She’s fiercely competitive and she has pushed me to become a better person and a better leader,” White said of her coach and friend following emotional exchanges of hugs and congratulations amongst the team and family members postgame. “She’s motherly, she’s warming, she cares so much. She looks after everyone. She’s the glue that holds our team together.”
White’s favourite memory of Semeniuk? “I’ll aways remember the artisan bread that she brings every game. It’s delicious.”
As for her teammates over the past years, White knows it in her heart that these girls will be family forever. “I would call it family, that’s how I would describe it,” she asserted about the team dynamic. “We’re all good friends … we hang out not only on the court but also see each other off the court all the time.”
White will complete her degree in Human Kinetics this spring.
Tia Sadler: With time winding down in the fourth quarter against the Timberwolves, Sadler would put the ball onto the court for a drive from the baseline, finish the layup, and get on the board for two points in the ballgame, the last bucket she would make in Heat uniform.
“It was really surreal,” she said after the game. “I felt really calm, and it was a nice way to end it.”
Sadler came in the same year as White, but has battled on-going leg injuries that have made her decide to hang the sneakers up. Still, her four years on the Heat bench have been highlighted by some success on the court, and the establishment of lifelong friendships along the way.
“I feel like it’s a sisterhood, just a bond with a family,” said Sadler. “It’s difficult to explain, but it’s just the connection that we have from experiencing this all together.”
“Over the years … the laughs, the great times on trips … I think I’ll come out of this with so many good friends. It’s great,” Sadler concluded.
Heather Semeniuk: “What can I say?” was all that coach Semeniuk could muster in the aftermath of the emotional win to cap off an impressive and successful career on the bench for the women’s basketball program at UBC Okanagan. “Win or lose, it’s great, but I wanted [this win] mostly for the girls.”
Wins and losses aside, Semeniuk’s goal at the helm has always been to foster relationships, build community, and mentor young girls into mature, intelligent, and compassionate people on and off the court.
“Relationships make the world go round,” Semeniuk said, reflecting on her legacy. “Sometimes it’s not always perfect, but for me it’s the basis of everything. I can’t even think what else there could possibly be that we do this for. The loyalty, the trust, it’s wholesome. To be able to nurture it here, and get [my girls] to understand how important it is. To see them learn that is the most important thing. Our friendships will be lifelong.”
Semeniuk has repeatedly claimed that part of her reason to stay on the extra couple of years down the stretch was to see through White to the end of her career.
“I am so happy to have stayed with her,” Semeniuk admitted. “You’re talking about the most quality kid I have ever met. And you can see how that reflects in the team. [She] works harder than anyone that I have ever known, and I have just enjoyed coaching her so much.”
She went on to describe Sadler as “A fabulous, first-class character. I always say family comes first, and for evidence, all you have to do is go talk to the parents.”
A rush of family members, friends, and old players across several eras of Heat women’s basketball came out to cheer on the home team tonight. “I was floored that there were so many people here to congratulate me,” said Semeniuk.
“[But] that’s what brings girls like [Angela and Tia] here,” Semeniuk reasserted. “The family, the love, and all of the values they have [from family].
Of Note: For the ceremony for Heather prior to the game there was a large contingent of her family in attendance to join in the celebration as well as many of her former players. Heather received a standing ovation from the crowd following the emotional ceremony. She then composed herself and coached her team to a win in a most emotion setting.
Friday night’s game was the 4th annual KidSport Game. AS with the previous years every three pointer made by the Heat would see $50 donated to KidSport™. This year the women’s team hit of five from long range which put $250 in KidSport’s coffers. The men’s team had the desire to add to the total shooting 18 threes, sadly they just hit two of them to raise $100. The 11% was by far the lowest percentage the team shoot from outside all year. The total amount to KidSport from threes is $350 bringing the four year total to $2450.
KidSport™ Kelowna was launched in the 2002 and provides grants for local children 18 years and under to participate in a sports. Last year KidSportTM earned $500 off the ten three-pointers potted by the Heat.