VANCOUVER, BC — The UBC Thunderbirds hold on to their undefeated record (8-0) after their victory over the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat (2-8) on Saturday night. The T-Birds now sit in second place in the Canada West standings behind the only other two undefeated teams from Alberta (10-0) and Winnipeg (10-0), after being ranked as the U Sports #10 in the national top ten coming into their weekend matchup against UBCO.
Maddison Penn was undoubtedly the best player on the floor on Saturday night. The second year UBC guard finished the night with a line of 37 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and three assists. She finished her 23 minutes of playing time having made 14 of 25 attempts from the field (56%), four of her seven attempts from three-point range (57%) and five of her six free throws (83%). Keylyn Filewich and Shilpa Khanna rounded out the top scorers for the ‘Birds, finishing with 13 and 11 points respectively.
For the Heat, Emily Kanester and Shenelle Tamminen led the way in scoring, finishing with 12 points each. Behind them were Chloe Kennedy and Claire Elliott, also finishing in double digits, with 11 and 10 points respectively. Jordan Korol continued her ever more impressive play down low, pulling down eight rebounds and recording three blocks.
Rebounds proved to be a key factor in the game, as the final tally was 48-28 in favour of UBC. As a result, the T-Birds were able to score 26 second chance points, while holding the UBC Okanagan side to eight.
At half time, the game was anything but over, with the Heat down only a single point, 40-39. Both Tamminen and Penn had already hit double digits in scoring by the break, with 10 and 11 points for their respective teams through 20 minutes of play. Through the first two quarters UBCO had a slight statistical shooting advantage, after going 47.1% from the floor and 36.4 from long distance and holding UBC to 45.9% and 16.7%.
The second half was when the Thunderbirds took over, outscoring the Heat 28-16 in the third quarter and 22-14 in the fourth. Penn really came alive for UBC in the latter half, scoring 26 of her 37 points after the break. The statistical advantage swung well over to the T-Birds’ side through the final twenty minutes as well. The home team went 18 of 33 from the floor (54.5%), five of nine from long-range (55.6%), pulled down 26 rebounds, and earned eight steals in the second half. UBC Okanagan, in that same time, shot 35.7% from the floor, 16.7% from three, found 11 rebounds, and forced 13 T-Birds turnovers.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-8) will play their next games at home in the new year, when they host the national #2 Regina Cougars (6-2) on January 6 & 7. The UBC Thunderbirds will play next on the road, when they travel to play the Saskatchewan Huskies (4-4) on January 6 & 7.
~ Grayson Leahy / UBC Okanagan