KELOWNA, B.C. – It was four weeks ago that CIS competition started on UBC’s Okanagan campus when the volleyball teams hosted the University of Winnipeg in the first ever Canada West action. The basketball teams finally get their chance to defend their home court against their Canada West foes. After opening the season on the road for two straight weekends the 0-4 Heat will take to the court in Kelowna for the first time Friday night when they host the nation’s number one team in the 6-0 University of Regina Cougars; Friday night tipoff will be at 6 p.m. Saturday night the Heat will host the winless (0-6) University of Brandon Bobcats, tip off time is 6 p.m.
Friday, November 25 – University of Regina Rams at the UBC Okanagan Heat (6 p.m. PST in the Gymnasium on UBC’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna)
Saturday, November 26 – University of Brandon Bobcats at the UBC Okanagan Heat (6 p.m. PST in the Gymnasium on UBC’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna)
Both games will be streamed with live video: www.canadawest.tv
CIS National Ranking: N/A
CanWest Standings: 6th in the Pacific division
Last Week: 0-2; Fri 81-53 loss to UFV, Sat 71-50 loss to UFV
Streak: 4 losses
2011 CanWest Record: N/A
2011 CanWest Championship: N/A
2011 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CanWest Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A
The team is looking forward to playing their first home game this season and the familiarity that comes with it. “I’m more excited that than anything,” muses fourth year captain Roz Huber (Post, Kelowna, BC). “I’ve played in this gym a lot, and you have family and friends out there.”
“We haven’t been able to be at home this year,” adds UBC Okanagan head coach Heather Semeniuk. “The players are definitely excited. Coming home to play in front of family and friends is really important to the girls.”
Friday night, in the home opener, the Heat are in tough as they face a very solid Cougars squad with an experienced backcourt. Two of the starting guards for the Cougars have played NCAA Division 1 basketball. Third year guard Michelle Clark (Westlake Village, Calif.) played two seasons at Purdue University and advanced to the Elite Eight with the Boilermakers in the 2009 NCAA tournament; this season Michelle is averaging 16.4 points per game and is 16-44 from behind the three point line in five games. Joanna Zalesiak is in her third year from Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland. Last year Joanna was a second team CIS All-Star; she also played a year of pro ball in Poland and has also played a season with the University of Texas at El Paso. This year through five games Zalesiak is averaging 15.2 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game and, 6.8 assists per game, tops in the nation.
“Regina has a very strong team, well balanced, nice inside game and a couple of superior guards,” notes Heather Semeniuk.
Saturday the Heat have a more favourable matchup with the Bobcats then the Cougars. Brandon has lost all six of their games so far this year by an average margin of 52.7 points, the Heat by comparison have lost their four games but have been in much closer games losing by an average margin of only 22.2 points. Brandon has yet to score over 40 points in a game this year and are averaging 29.2 points per game as a team; they have only one player, freshman Aimee Johnston (Forward, Brandon, MB), averaging double figures at 12.5 points per game.
The Heat only have Huber scoring in double figures at 12.5 points per game, but fellow fourth year player Madison Kaneda (Guard, Vernon, BC) is averaging nine points a game, and as a team they are averaging 56.2 points per game.
Coach Semeniuk is trying not to look past the Regina matchup for the more favourable Saturday night game, and does not think the Brandon matchup will be anything but a battle saying: “It’s like any game. Things can happen on the court that can surprise the heck out of you. Players have to come prepared.”
This is the last weekend of games for the team before the winter semester break.
REGINA COUGARS (5-0)
CIS National Ranking: 1st
CanWest Standings: 1st tied in the Prairie division
Last Week: 2-0; Fri 69-54 win over UC, Sat 84-67 win over UC
Streak: 5 wins
2011 CanWest Record: 19-5, 3rd place
2011 CanWest Championship: 4-2
2011 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CanWest Title: 2004
Last CIS Title: 2001