The UBC Okanagan possibly deserved a better fate on Friday night, but in the end emerged from opening weekend of the Canada West women’s basketball without a victory.
The Explorer Division pre-season favourites UFV Cascades swept both ends of a doubleheader from the hometown Heat, as Heather Semeniuk kicked off her 21st and final campaign as head coach of the Okanagan’s varsity program
On Friday, the Heat controlled play and led for much of the game before the Cascades rallied to win in overtime 82-75.
Three clutch free throws in the final half-second of play by Cascades’ Kaitlyn McDonald forced extra time, during which UFV outscored the Heat 12-5.
The result spoiled a huge effort by Heat guard Sarah Allison who had 28 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Despite the loss, Semeniuk eschewed confidence in a team that looks to have built a fresh identity to try and make some noise in the league this year. “All I can say is that the first year kids are better at second year,” she said, “and the second year kids are better at third, and so on. They’re just playing better.”
On Saturday, the Cascades were a notch better in a 78-58 win over the Heat.
UFV jumped on top early and never look back as the Heat struggled from three-point range, going just 1 for 12.
“We came out against a team that played better,” said Heat coach Heather Semeniuk simply. “(Fraser Valley) just played better, and they played better than they did (Friday).”
Third-year guard Jessica Jazdarehee was the Heat’s standout player for the night, with a game-best of 21 points and nine rebounds.
The Heat (0-2) is in Calgary this weekend as they visit the Mount Royal Cougars on Friday night.
The UBC Okanagan men kept it close, but couldn’t find a way to solve the Fraser Valley Cascades on opening weekend of the Canada West basketball season.
On Friday in Kelowna, Mitch Goodwin’s 19-point effort wasn’t enough as the Heat fell to UFV 82-76. Goodwin, the lone returning starter, was 7-for-7 from the line and was the Heat’s player of the game.
On Saturday, UBCO was once again in the game from start to finish before succumbing 81-73.
David Manshreck paced the Heat attack with 24 points and added 11 rebounds.
All in all, head coach Pete Guarasci said the Heat didn’t have the finish they needed.
“I think in the end we had a lot of good looks around the rim, but we didn’t finish a lot of shots that we should have finished,” Guarasci added. “We just left a lot of points off the board and couldn’t come up with back-to-back stops defensively to get us over the hump.”
The Heat (0-2) will be in Calgary Friday to take on Mount Royal.