November 2, 2013, KELOWNA, B.C. (ISN) – The UBC Okanagan Heat hosted the University of Alberta Pandas Friday night to open their third Canada West campaign. This was the first time that the Pandas have played in Kelowna, and the No. 2 team in the country would have too great a fourth quarter for the Heat to overcome as the home team fell 62-43.
The Heat’s Sarah Allison was the Landmark Cinema’s Player of the Game behind a team-high 12 points along with 3 steals in 24 minutes of play.
Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk substituted liberally, seeming to opt for an up-tempo style to try and outrun a much larger Pandas squad. Several rookies would see significant floor time as Semeniuk would lean heavily on a trio of rookies in guards Claire Elliott (North Vancouver, BC) and Olivia Johnson (Kelowna, BC), as well as post Julia Reichert (Princeton, BC) who did battle against the much larger and more physical frontline of Alberta.
“They’ve got great defensive skills,” said Semeniuk of both Elliott and Johnson. “They’ve got quick feet, they know how to cut the angles, they can run and jump … and that’s a forte that we’ve known right off the bat.” Elliott would only manage 2 points, but her impact was felt on the defensive end on the perimeter. Johnson would collect 2 rebounds and 1 assist in a like-mannered defensive effort in 14 minutes of floor time.
Semeniuk is happy with the development of Reichert so far, and believes she’s already being impactful for the team down low. “Somebody who’s 6’2, with a 6’7 wingspan, that’s someone you start developing immediately.” It was no surprise that Reichert, who performed outstandingly down in the post, contributed 5 rebounds and 3 points and changed the game on the defensive end for the Heat.
Fellow rookie Shenelle Tamminen rounded out the performances of Semeniuk’s latest recruitment class with 4 points and a lot of time doing battle down in the post with Alberta’s bigs. “If we can get her the ball, and get her in position to shoot, she’s one of the quickest pistols out there,” Semeniuk said of Tamminen.
The Pandas’ fourth-year forward Kendra Asleson led all scorers with 16 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds while only playing half the game (20 minutes exact). Third-year guard Jessica Fairbanks and fourth-year forward Saskia Van Ginhoven also reached double-digit scoring for the Pandas with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Heat start 0-1 for the 2013-14 season. The Pandas begin 1-0 and will hold onto their top rank in Canada West. Tomorrow night fellow prairie squad the Saskatchewan Huskies will roll into town for the second of back-to-back games this weekend. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
Heat notes … Former post and current career-scoring record holder Roslyn Huber currently works as a full-time personal trainer, with regular clients also at the campus’ new Hangar Fitness facility. While at campus she also gets time to work out directly with Reichert and help develop her game from time to time. Huber was in attendance for the team’s home opener and spoke highly of the squad this year.