Thunderbirds Down Heat

okanagan heat

January,27, 2013, Kelowna, BC (ISN) – Right out of the gate, the Heat played tough against the Thunderbirds with enthusiasm and zeal. The increased tenacity and physicality kept the Thunderbirds out of any constant rhythm for most of the game.

Senior Thunderbird Leigh Stansfield went 8-12 and scored 18 points en route to a tightly contested victory over the UBC Okanagan Heat 62-55 Saturday night in Kelowna. Roslyn Huber (fifth-year, Kelowna, BC) was the Heat Player of the Game, getting out of her scoring slump to put up 17 points while grabbing six rebounds in the outing for the home team.

“It was just such a turnaround from last night,” Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk commented after the game. “We talked about intention and purpose again, and not letting circumstances affect what you want to do. Just play and do what you want to do so that at the end of the game you felt like you gave it your all, and that you felt good about how you played.”

Backcourt combo Emily Kanester (2nd year, Vernon, BC) and Angela White (3rd year, North Vancouver, BC) kept pressure on the Thunderbirds’ guards all game long, forcing difficult passes, turnovers, and even several jump balls, particularly down the stretch. The feistier defense all over the floor held the Birds to only 39% from the field, down from an excellent 50% last night.

Heat coach Heather Semeniuk said that she really encouraged her girls to get more physical with a longer and larger Vancouver squad tonight: “Both these teams … they play a nice, clean game. But I said ‘You know what? The game—you’ve got to get a little more physical because those girls are bigger and longer than you. You need to let them know that you’re there on defense, and we need to not let them take the spot on the floor that they want.’ That really, really helped. We had more belief tonight.”

Still, the Heat could not contain both the Thunderbird bigs such as Stansfield, and keep the shooters from knocking down shots down the stretch of the fourth as the chance for victory eventually slipped away.

Alongside Stansfied, third-year guard Kris Young recorded 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals in all around effort for the Vancouver team. Fellow second-year backcourt partner Cassandra Knievel was 3-6 from three-point range while grabbing four rebounds and distributing five assists herself.

Second-year guard Sarah Allison (South Surrey, BC) scored 12 points for the Heat, while Kanester (Vernon, BC) scored eight points, recorded four rebounds and picked away two steals in the effort.

The Heat are now 5-12 and will continue to search for win number six next weekend at home again versus the visiting University of Fraser Valley Cascades. Tip off for the Heat on Friday will be 6 p.m.

Heat Notes: After this weekend, Roslyn Huber’s career scoring is up to 846 points, just 16 points shy of Jenna Kantz’s 862 amassed during her five year career from 2006-2011. Huber and Kantz played three seasons together back when the Heat were members of the BCCAA (now PACWEST).