okanagan heat

November 29, 2013, KELOWNA, BC (ISN) – The second-half would make all the difference for the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball team, who found ways to gel on the offense and managed to pull away late in the fourth against the visiting UNBC Timberwolves for a 77-72 win, their second for the 2013-14 Canada West campaign, and first at home.

“I’m really happy for them because they needed this,” said Heather Semeniuk about her team earning their second conference win, and the first in front of their home fans.

The long-time head coach of the Heat was pleased with her team’s performance Friday night and thinks this could be a sign of things to come in the new year. “They needed to recognize how well they can play again,” she explained following the game. “They can play a nice game.”

Emily Kanester (Vernon, BC) led the charge for the Heat, the three-year veteran powered her way to a team-high 18 points including a dagger three ball in final minute of play that created a gap the Wolves could not cover.

With two minutes remaining, third-year shooting guard Sarah Allison (South Surrey, BC) netted a clutch three-ball to push the score to 70-66, putting pressure on the Timberwolves to respond. And the Timberwolves did, pulling things even 72-72 until a mere 66 seconds after Allison’s three, Kanester spotted up for her clutch own clutch shot from very deep that would create the 75-72 lead the Wolves could not recover from.

The Heat’s win was a season-high for points scored as they went 43% from the field. They were able to find the high quality shots using much better ball movement than in previous games this season, dishing up 14 assists as a squad, with third-year guard Sarah Allison leading with five. Allison also put up 15 points on 5-10 shooting, including another clutch 3-ball a mere minute before Kanester’s to make it 70-66.

“That ball movement is so important,” Semeniuk said. “Sometimes an early offense is good … but we’ve really been emphasizing [ball movement], make the defense work a little bit longer. That was a lot of points for us to score, but I think that just happens with that kind of control.”

The Wolves’ Mercedes VanKoughnett kept things interesting for the Wolves down the stretch, fighting tooth and nail to recover the deficits of her team in the fourth. She would lead all scorers with 20 points and had a near double-double with nine assists. Excellent guard play from both her and fellow fifth-year guard Jen Bruce amounted to 13 total assists en-route to the team’s total of 17. The Wolves also enjoyed a good scoring night, going 27-60, including 13-18 from the line.

The Heat improve to 2-7 on the season, with their last game of the semester taking place tomorrow against the now 3-6 Timberwolves. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. Catch the game live on www.canadawest.tv