KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team exchanged the lead with Victoria 19 times on their home court Friday night but after 40 minutes it was the visitors who had the lead last, as the Heat fall by a final score of 78-67 to the visiting University of Victoria Vikes in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.
As a result, the Heat women now hold a record of 2-11, while the Vikes now sit three games above .500, at 7-4.
The Vikes had four of their five starters score in double digits. Nicole Karstein had a game-high 22 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double. Amira Giannattasio and Jenna Bugiardini each had 13, and Marissa Dheensaw had 12. Kristy Gallagher also came off the bench to put up 11 points for Victoria.
The Heat had four players score in double digits. Emily Kanester led the way with 14, Claire Elliott was close behind her with 12, Shenelle Tamminen came off the bench to score 11, and Jordan Korol finished with 10. Korol was also just two rebounds shy of earning a double-double.
As a team, the Heat by far had the better bench, as 24 points came from players who didn’t start. Rebounds and turnovers were the difference, though, as Victoria finished with 41 rebounds and 18 second chance points, as well as 21 points off turnovers while the Heat had just nine.
As the 19 lead changes in the game would indicate, it was close most of the way through. Kanester was the difference-maker in the first half, with her three-point shooting getting the scoring started in the first quarter, and giving the Heat their largest lead of the game (36-29) with two minutes left in the second. Giannattasio closed out the first half with the hot hand, draining a three with 28 seconds left to make it a one-possession game (38-35), and hitting another shot at the buzzer to bring her Vikes within a single point (38-37) at half-time.
Thanks to another Kanester three-pointer with 17 seconds left in the third quarter, the Heat also took a one-point lead into the fourth. With five lead changes in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, neither team could extend their lead until the final minutes. Jenna Krug, Giannattasio, and Bugiardini took over in the latter half of the fourth, scoring from each area of the floor on a 9-0 Vikes run to jump ahead by eight (74-66) with three minutes left to play. Kanester made a free throw with 2:31 left to make it 74-67, but that would be the last Heat basket. The Vikes took complete control in the final two minutes, dominating the glass and shutting down the Heat shooters to close out the game. A Karstein jump shot with 18 seconds left put Victoria up my double digits, and a three-point attempt from Chloe Kennedy wouldn’t go, leaving Giannattasio to grab the rebound and run out the clock.
The Heat and Vikes will play again Saturday night, with tip-off set for 5 p.m. in Kelowna.
KidSport: In the two games tonight the Heat hit nine three pointers total and will donate $450 dollars to KidSport. The totals of the other fundraising events at the Friday night game were unavailable as of press time. The six year total raised by the Heat basketball teams is closing in on $4000.