Saturday, January 30th, 2016
Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre, Kamloops, BC
FINAL 1 2 3 4 T UBC Okanagan (10-4) 12 15 23 20 70 Thompson Rivers (11-3) 17 20 15 19 71
KAMLOOPS, BC -UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team suffered their first defeat in over two months, after winning five straight, the Heat are burned by the TRU WolfPack in Kamloops, B.C. on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre.
An exciting second half and a furious comeback by UBC Okanagan had the Heat up one with 4.9 seconds to play when the WolfPack’s Michelle Bos (2nd year, guard, Surrey, BC) scored, defeating the visiting Kelowna squad 71-70.
This loss brings the Heat to a (10-4) record, while improving TRU’s record to (11-4). Both teams are still in the drivers seat for the playoffs with the top three in the Explorer division moving onto the post season. The Heat are in sole possession of third place within the Explorer division and the ‘Pack now sit in first place.
“It was a fun game,” Heat coach Clare Meadows said. “Every game between now and the end of the season have a lot of meaning for both teams. I think each and every game will be a competitive battle. If they all end that way they will be exciting.”
The WolfPack had a 10 point advantage at the half (37-27). UBCO was sluggish to begin the third quarter but wound up outscoring TRU 23-15 to cut the lead to two (52-50). In the final seconds, the Heat took a 70-69 after a Kayla McFadden trip to the free throw line lead before TRU called a time out.
Coming out of that timeout, TRU moved the ball down the court, and after a series of passes the ball was fed to a Bos after a deft back door cut. She converted the lay in as the buzzer went for the winning points. Bos was named the TRU Bookstore/McDonalds “Leader of the Pack” player of the game. She wound up with nine points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes.
WolfPack assistant coach Chuck Ferguson said it was a designed play: “We were looking to put it into the high post and then have Michelle go to the low post and make the pass. We knew we had 4.6 seconds, so we knew that we had to do it quickly. Luckily, it worked out just as it was drawn out.”
The Heat were led by senior Emily Kanester who scored 16 points in limited minutes due to foul trouble and was efficient from the field shooting (6-12) 50 percent. Kayla McFadden chipped in with 14 points. McFadden, was able to take advantage of the charity stripe and went (8-10). Chloe Kennedy was a key cog in the comeback, she finished with 14 points, eight of which were in the third quarter. Point guard Claire Elliott had 10 points and four steals for the Heat.
Meadows praised McFadden, “I thought she had a great game. She did a lot of little things for us: strong on the boards, diving on the ground for loose balls. She picked up a rebound at the end and got fouled. That put us on top with four seconds left.”
She added, “Emily played only 13 minutes because she got into foul trouble. But in those 13 minutes she scored 16 points which was huge.”
TRU had three players in double figures led by Taiysa Worsfold (5th year, guard, Kamloops, BC), who had 17 points.
Kassie Colonna (4th year, forward, Invermere, BC) had a ‘double double,’ with 16 points and 17 rebounds (13 on the defensive glass). Emma Piggin (2nd year, guard, Kamloops, BC) contributed 14 points.
Meadows felt her team got off to a poor start with their shooting in the first half. “When we cleaned up our defense and our shots started to fall in the second half, we got right back into it,” she explained.
Both teams were efficient and close in numbers when it came to shooting from the field. The Heat were able to make (25-68) 36.8 percent from the field compared to TRU’s (24-70) 34.3 percent. The Heat were also able to outscore the ‘Pack from beyond the arch with (9-16) 31.6 percent compared to TRU’s (5-27) 18.5 percent.
The Heat were out-rebounded by TRU, who also leads the league in rebounding. The Heat were able to claim 34 rebounds to Thompson River’s 58.
The Heat continues to stay on top of the steals category as they claimed 15 steals from the WolfPack. Elliott and forwards McFadden and Robyn Aulin-Haynes had four steals each.
Both coaches admit that a great rivalry is developing between the two schools who share geographical proximity. Ferguson agreed, stating, “We are,” and, “I have a long history with the assistant coach. We have been friends for a lot of years. Clare is an outstanding coach and so is Scott. You are starting to see a friendly rivalry with respect between the two programs”.
The WolfPack and Heat will play their final two regular season games against each other on Febraury 19th and 20th. Both will be played on the Warner Rentals Court at the TCC. Meadows says this contest sets up some great future matches. “I am looking forwards to it. TRU is a well-coached team and always ready. Both teams will be ready. What a way to end.”
Meadows believes both teams are similar, “Both of us pride ourselves on defense along with the energy and intensity that that brings. The other team is just as competitive and physical. It makes for a great battle.”
Moving into next weekends games Meadows admitted “This is a great game to learn from. We need to come back on Monday more hungry for next weekend.”
The Heat will continue their regular season next weekend at home against the Fraser Valley Cascades. Tip off is at 6 p.m. (Feb 5).
~ Tia Sadler, Heat athletics // with notes from Larry Read, TRU Sports Information