A strong second quarter would propel the MacEwan Griffins to their fifth win of the season as they topped the UBC Okanagan Heat 60-55 on Saturday night.
After the home team got off to a strong start and led 12-10 after the first, MacEwan outscored the Heat 20-9 in the second frame and while UBCO made some runs late on, they were unable to get within less than five points.
It was another big night for Jordan Korol as the forward had 15 points and 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double against the Griffins. Vanessa Botteselle had another outstanding game for the home team as she had 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists in defeat.
For MacEwan it was Kayla Ivicak who did lots of the damage as the guard had 16 points and nine rebounds for the visitors. Hannah Gibb also played well for the Griffins as she finished with 14 points, including four triples.
The Griffins now sit just one game back of the final Canada West playoff spot at 5-11 with four games left on their conference schedule while the Heat fall to 1-17 with the loss.
“We struggled in the second quarter and it really put us behind for the rest of the game, against good teams you can’t give yourself that much of a deficit so that hurt us but, I like the response in the second half,” said Heat head coach Bobby Mitchell following the weekend split with the Griffins.
Both teams struggled taking care of the ball throughout, as the Heat finished with 22 turnovers and the visiting Griffins had 16 in the match. The MacEwan press would lead to 11 steals as well on the night compared to just six for the home team.
Both teams struggled offensively in the opening frame as the two teams were unable to get quality looks thanks to both teams locking down defensively. UBCO held a narrow 12-10 advantage after the first, led by Ana Evans who had six points in the opening 10 minutes. MacEwan game on strong in the second, as they hit 50% of their shots from the field en route to building a 30-21 advantage at the break. The full-court press from the visitors forced 15 turnovers from the Heat in the first half, compared to just five turnovers from MacEwan.
The two teams would trade punches in the third quarter as everytime it seemed like the Griffins were going to take total control the Heat countered with a run of their own. MacEwan led by as much as 15 with just over seven minutes to go in the third quarter, but the Griffins led just 44-37 at the end of three following a Brianna Falk layup at the buzzer. The home team cut the deficit to just five at 51-46 following another Falk finish but this would be as close as the Heat were able to get against the stingy Griffins defence.
The Heat (1-17) will close out their Canada West campaign next weekend in Kelowna against the Victoria Vikes (8-8). MacEwan (5-11) has a two-game set with the Brandon Bobcats (2-14) in their second last weekend of conference play.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information