The UBC Okanagan Heat's women's basketball team reversed the ball and its fortunes to close out an inspiring weekend on home court.
Following a gutsy, but losing performance (74-71) against CIS No. 10-ranked Calgary Dinos the night before, the Heat bounced back on Saturday to knock off the visiting University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 66-58.
The Heat utilized impressive ball movement in the first half to stump the Lethbridge defence, while managing good penetration on the dribble to take at 39-28 lead by the break.
"We were getting into a bad habit of keeping the ball on one side, so I was really emphasizing 'reversing the ball, reversing the ball' . . . and just getting it to the open shooter," explained Heat coach Heather Semeniuk after the game. "Obviously, the girls took it to heart and it paid off with a nice win."
The victory improved the Heat's CIS Canada West record to a fifth place 5-8. They're now six points out of the final Pacific Division playoff spot, held by the University of Victoria Vikes.
Vernon's Madison Kaneda hit for a layup and a three-pointer less than 30 seconds later in the dying minutes of the game to put the dagger into the Pronghorns' chances of coming back.
Kaneda, the player of the game for the Heat, was 3-for-5 from beyond the three-point arc and tied Sarah Allison for the team high in points with 15.
"I had a pretty rough night of shooting (0-for-5) against Calgary, so I just focused more on long shots in the shoot-around this morning and came ready to play more confidently tonight," pointed out Kaneda.
Besides Kaneda and Allison, a trio of young Heat players had solid outings against the 5-7 Pronghorns.
Emily Kanester of Vernon finished with 10 points and five rebounds, while rookie Coquitlam's Jessica Jezdarehee added 10 points and four rebounds. Kayla McFadden of Pitt Meadows chipped in with seven points and six boards.
Coach Semeniuk was pleased with her younger talent and sees a bright future for them.
"They want to play so badly," she said after the game. "Their time will come. They're great kids with great passion."
On Friday at UBCO, the Heat were good for 28 points in the third quarter, but they were doubled 24-12 in the fourth to come up short in their upset bid over Calgary (10-2).
Allison, the player of the game, scored 24 points, while Kaneda finished with 13 to go along with Kanester's 11. Both Rutland Secondary School grad Roslyn Huber, who led the team in rebounds with 10, and Kanester fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
Heat men drop pair
Losses to two Alberta visitors on the weekend saw the UBCO Heat men's basketball team slip to 2-11 in the CIS Canada West season.
Despite solid late-game efforts by Landry Ndayitwayeko and Anwar Faza and a 17-point performance by fourth-year guard, Yassine Ghomari, the Heat fell 81-74 to the University of Lethbridge Longhorns on Saturday.
A night earlier, Faza led the Heat with 15 points, but Kelowna's Mitch Goodwin and Ghomari were held to 11 and 10 point respectively as the University of Calgary Dinos claimed a 59-56 win at UBCO
Coach Pete Guarasci kept his team competing hard on Saturday, despite playing a Pronghorns squad that was having everything go their way.
"I think the key is to keep refocusing the players. So when we come into timeouts we just refocus them with what's been successful throughout the game. The game plan is going to work. It's just a matter of keeping them in it."
Meanwhile, Goodwin, a rookie out of Kelowna Secondary School, went down early in the first quarter with what appeared to me a mild ankle sprain. After treatment on the sidelines, he returned to the floor, but didn't finish the game. His status for the Heat's games this weekend in Saskatchewan and Alberta is unknown.