by Cary Mellon
February 1, 2014, KELOWNA, BC (ISN) – Each team would have a lead in the final quarter, but it was ultimately the visiting Manitoba Bisons that outlasted the UBC Okanagan Heat 74-67 in Canada West women’s basketball action Saturday night from UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Following a low-point in Friday night’s 72-45 loss to Winnipeg at home, the Heat came out with more fire and “purpose,” as Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk said postgame.
“They were more focused and played with more intention,” the coach said. “They came with more intention and they needed to prove themselves.”
The Bisons’ Sheree Carmona-Galdamez fourth quarter heroics would break her team away from the back-and-forth contest, as she scored nine of the Bison’s 15 points over the final seven minutes of the fourth. Teammate Allison Balasko was also formidable in that stretch and was problematic in the interior for the Heat all game long. Balasko would wrap up with a game-high 18 points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds, while Carmona-Galdamez would finish the game with 17 points.
Once again, it was two Heat rookies shining for the home team as Claire Elliott (North Vancouver, BC) and Shenelle Tamminen (Calgary, AB) logged over twenty minutes each. Elliott would put up 14 points on 6-11 shooting while Tamminen chipped in five points, two rebounds and two assists. The performances of this pair of rookies has been one story amidst a string of similar ones since the start of the season, but particularly in the second half as this young Heat squad continues to develop together.
“As a coach, you know what you’re getting when you recruit kids,” Semeniuk said, gushing upon her rookie cast that has been a big part of her rotation, particularly as of late. “You’ve seen it, you know it’s there. First year kids, it just takes some time to get their grounding and get their feeling of ‘I can do this.’ There’s always a pecking order, but they’re finding their feet. I don’t hesitate to put those kids in the game. Never, no.”
Third-year Heat guard Emily Kanester (Vernon, BC) led her team with 15 points and grabbed four rebounds. Her two made threes raised $100 for KidSportTM tonight, as a donation of $50 for every made UBC Okanagan three was donated by the athletic department.
The Heat went 3-12 from the three-point line, earning $150 towards the charity that wants to break down the financial barriers to sport for children across the nation. Shenelle Tamminen would net the team’s third three late in the fourth quarter.
With seven and a half minutes to play, the UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team was a perfect 20-20 from the free-throw line, which was a welcomed boost considering offensive production was otherwise hard to find in a 37% shooting night versus the Manitoba Bisons. It’s too bad that it was not free-throws being counted towards the fundraising totals on KidSportTM night, as the Heat would make 24 of 30 shots from the charity stripe at the final buzzer.
The Heat are now 3-15 for the season while the Bisons improve to 4-14. The Heat hit the road next weekend for a pair of games against the UBC Thunderbirds. Tip-off at War Memorial Gymnasium on Friday is at 6 p.m. While Manitoba will host the playoff bound Alberta Pandas for a pair of games next Friday and Saturday.
HEAT NOTES: Although a long range threat in all three years playing for the Heat, this was the first year the Emily Kanester potted a three on KidSport night, she was held three-less in 2013 and 2012. Sarah Allison’s last year’s total of six made threes for $300 is still best in the three years from either the men’s or women’s basketball teams. Sarah didn’t net one tonight.