Burly Pandas keep Heat hungry for boards in loss

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okanagan heat

January 20, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – Sophomore guard Renee Byrne had a career-high 24 points, including four treys, leading the University of Alberta Pandas to an 87-56 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat, Saturday night at Saville Community Sport Centre.

Coach Semeniuk was proud of her team and their ability to bounce back after a tough night in Saskatoon and an early morning flight to Edmonton, making for a very long game day for her squad. “We played really well tonight,” she said. “I’m proud of the effort and the way they took the court with a purpose.”

“The final score was not indicative of how we played,” Semeniuk stressed as she explained how their scoring went dry, allowing the fourth quarter to get away from her team.

“Swing trips throughout the prairies are not nice…not conducive to good games both nights,” coach Semeniuk also said. “Prairie teams are really tough on their home court.”

Second-year guard Emily Kanester (Vernon, BC) had a team-high 18 points for the Heat while senior forward Roslyn Huber (Kelowna, BC) netted 11 and Sarah Allison (South Surrey, BC), the team scoring leader coming into the weekend, put up 10.

“Emily had a good game. Her and Angela White have been playing really consistent lately,” Heat coach Heather Semeniuk said of her sophomore guard and third-year from North Vancouver, BC. Kanester led her team in scoring in Edmonton shooting 50% and scoring 18 points and contributing three rebounds and three assists.

Although Kanester consistently put up points in the first half (15 in total), Byrne (Devon, AB) fired off 12 in the second quarter alone, highlighted by two three-pointers and a no-look jumper just underneath the glass, giving the Pandas a 41-30 lead at halftime.

Still, the Heat played tough and kept the game close, trailing by single digits only until Renee Byrne hit a three with 46 seconds to go just before the half. UBC Okanagan was able to stay in the game in the first half because they were hitting threes at a 50% clip allowing the Heat to overcome the halftime rebound differential 25-15.

“We were attacking way more confidently,” Huber commented after the game, drawing a comparison to the night before against the Saskatchewan Huskies. “Shots were there. They just were not falling and they capitalized on their opportunities when we didn’t.”

For the game the Heat were outrebounded 41-25, and the day before in Saskatoon the Heat were outrebounded 30-13. The two larger Prairie teams really played to the Heat’s lack of size – over the weekend the Heat were outrebounded 71-48.

“We handled the physicality way better tonight compared to last night,” added Huber.

The Heat are now 5-10 and return home next weekend to host their sister school in the UBC Thunderbirds for a back-to-back. This will be the first time the two teams face off in Kelowna for a league game and will sure to be a big event on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Tip-off for the first historic women’s game is at 6:00 p.m. on Friday (Jan 25).

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

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