Heat women beat playoff bound UFV in exciting fashion

With a strong defensive stand in the final seconds, UBCO earned a victory on Friday night over the now 11-8 Cascades.

KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball team took down the playoff-bound University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday night in the UBC Okanagan gym. The final score was 64-62 after a tense final few minutes.

Last season it was against the UFV Cascades that Heat head coach Claire Meadows earned her first win with the program. With the win tonight, she is 2-1 against the team from the Fraser Valley.

UBC Okanagan outscored UFV 17-13 in the final quarter, though it was defence late that earned them the win. With just over two and a half minutes left in the game, the Heat had an eight-point lead, up 61-53 after an Emma Jonas jump shot.

The Cascades were able to pull within two points with just over a minute left, after a pair of layups and two free throws made it 61-59. Free throws from Chloe Kennedy put the Heat back up four, before a Taylor Claggett layup and a Kayli Sartori free throw brought UFV within one, down 63-62 with 14 seconds left. Nicole Hart made a free throw to make it 64-62 a second later, and Emily Kanester made arguably the play of the game when she blocked Sydney Williams’ three-point shot as the final buzzer sounded, with the Heat up 64-62.

The Cascades had the better shooting night from the field (40.4% – 32.4%) and from the free throw line (78.3% – 66.7%), but the Heat had the advantage in three-point shooting (24% – 10%). Rebounds were 46-36 for UFV, but the Cascades turned the ball over 27 times while the Heat gave up the ball 14 times. Those turnovers led to 23 points for the Heat, who also had the advantage in second chance points, 12-10.

UFV’s Shayna Litman finished with a game-high 23 points. Kayli Sartori also had an impressive night, finishing a point shy of a double-double, with nine points 10 rebounds, and also led the Cascades in assists with four.

Emily Kanester had a team-high 21 points for the Heat, while Chloe Kennedy (12 points) and Nicole Hart (10 points) also scored in double digits. Hart pulled down 12 rebounds to finish with a double-double.

Both teams started the game shooting well, and both the Heat and the Cascades owned field goal percentages over 40% at the end of the first quarter. UBC Okanagan was able to shoot 50% from three-point range in the quarter, and that was the difference as they held a one-point lead at the end-of-quarter buzzer.

The second quarter saw defence take precedence, as both teams seemed to make it their priority in the frame. The Heat struggled to make shots, but were able to hold the Cascades in check with a full-court press that the visitors couldn’t quite break all the way out of. Despite the Heat defence, UFV shot 52.2% in the first half. Their 15 turnovers kept the score close though, and half-time saw the visitors hold a two-point lead, 33-31. Shayna Litman and Emily Kanester were both already scoring in double digits at the break, with 12 and 10 points respectively.

The UBC Okanagan Heat (4-15) and the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (11-8) will play again tomorrow night in the UBC Okanagan gym, with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. PST in what will be an emotional game for UBCO. Four players will play their final game for the Heat on Saturday: Claire Elliott, Olivia Johnson, Chloe Kennedy, and Emily Kanester.

~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan