VANCOUVER – The Heat had no answer against the UBC Thunderbird’s stifling defense as the T-Birds’ winning streak is up to eight games after a 71-40 UBC Okanagan loss on Saturday at War Memorial Gym.
UBC Okanagan could not find any offensive rhythm and it didn’t take long for the No. 3 ranked ‘Birds to take complete control of the game. Within the first three minutes the Thunderbirds had an eight point lead on the Heat.
With the Heat’s offensive struggles and the athleticism of the T-Birds on defense, the Thunderbirds built up a 19-7 lead after the first quarter and held a 25-point advantage at half time.
The deficit continued to grow for the Heat through the third quarter and by the time the fourth rolled around the ‘Birds were up 56-17 and held a 25-6 advantage in points off turnovers, holding the Heat to 18 percent shooting from the floor.
Both teams used the lopsided score as a chance to get their starters some rest while the bench played major minutes.
Coach Semeniuk had all of her players in double digit minutes with only Audrey Siebert Timmer playing six minutes due to a minor injury suffered early in the contest. First year player Tia Sadler (Guard, Golden, BC) scored five points in 11 minutes for the Heat, “she was able to score when nobody else could tonight,” Heat coach Heather Semeniuk added about her first year player.
“The team was flat at the start of the game,” commented Heat coach Heather Semeniuk. “They [the T-Birds] came out really strong tonight, way stronger than last night. I think that combined with the fact that we struggled putting the ball in the hoop took us down a notch.”
The Heat did put together an impressive rally late to outscore the T-Birds 23-15 in the fourth quarter. Ashley Briker led the team with nine points. Roslyn Huber scored six while adding five steals, four assists and four rebounds.
The win moves UBC to 12-2 on the year, now three games up on second place Fraser Valley, who they meet next week. If the T-Birds can win at least one game in Abbotsford next week they will lock up first place in the Pacific Division.
The Heat fall to 2-12 and will return home next week to host Victoria. The T-Birds’ final regular season home game is also against Victoria on February 10 at 6 p.m.