Winnipeg Fends off the Heat in December Matinee

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okanagan heat

December 2, 2012, WINNIPEG, MB (ISN) – Trailing by as much as 31 points against the experienced Wesmen squad, the UBC Okanagan Heat scored 19 points off Winnipeg turnovers in the fourth quarter but were unable to come all the way back as the Heat fell 84-73 to the Wesmen on Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg.

Free throws again powered the Heat offense; as a team UBC Okanagan went to the line 29 times, knocking down 27 of those shots – an amazing 93.1%.

To contrast, the Heat shot just 29.4% for the game overall. The free throws allowed the Heat to generate some offense, especially in the first half as the Heat scored 13 or their 33 first half points from the charity stripe.

Head coach Heather Semeniuk was appreciative of her team’s success from the charity stripe, and implied that without her team getting to the line and converting those baskets they never would have had a chance to even make the comeback bid.

“I am so proud of them,” gushed Coach Semeniuk. “They play hard and are a classy team; they have grit and desire and they never quit, even when they’re down 28. As much as another win would have been so sweet, I am a pleased coach right now.”

In spite of the team’s poor shooting in the first half the Heat trailed by just 12 at the break, 45-33, and it felt closer than that as Winnipeg scored nine straight points in the last two minutes of the half to extend their lead.

A terrible third quarter where the Wesmen outscored the Heat 27-11 pushed Winnipeg’s lead too far out of reach. Fouls caught up with the Heat in the third frame as UBC Okanagan had to really play some different combinations on the floor at times in the third.

“We gave up a third quarter that was our demise in the end,” projected Semeniuk. “We had the horses left in the fourth. Madison Kaneda had four fouls by the half and had to sit and Krystal Schouten and Emily Kanester had three.”

The fourth quarter saw the Heat go on a 22-5 run for the first minutes of the final frame, cutting the once insurmountable Wesmen lead to just 10, forcing Winnipeg coach to call a time-out. The teams traded points for the final three minutes, allowing Winnipeg to stave off the Heat.

The dynamic duo of second year guards Sarah Allison (South Surrey, BC) and Emily Kanester (Vernon, BC) continue to lead the Heat in scoring; Kanester tallied 18 points and Allison 16. Both were perfect from the line 8-8 and 5-5 respectively. Forwards Krystal Schouten (3rd year, Winnipeg, MB) and Roslyn Huber (5th year Kelowna, BC) each hauled down six boards.

The Sunday afternoon victory improves the Wesmen’s record to 4-6. With the loss the Heat now sit with an identical record of 4-6, fifth place in the Canada West Pacific division and two games back of Victoria for a playoff spot.

Alyssa Grant led the Wesmen with a double-double 14 points, 11 rebounds. Tia Coulter added 13, while Megan Noonan had 12 and Alex Warburton tallied 10 points.

UBC Okanagan will next see action in January against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. The two BC teams will face off in Kamloops on Saturday, January 5th at the Tournament Capital Centre, tip-off at 5 p.m.

Winnipeg will close out their first half schedule on Wednesday night hosting the Manitoba Bisons in the basketball portion of the 22nd Annual Duckworth Challenge.

All the action can be caught live on www.canadawest.tv

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