Heather Semeniuk expects her final season at the helm of the UBC Okanagan Heat to fly by in the blink of an eye.
And the veteran head coach plans to enjoy every moment of it.
On Friday night, the Heat will kick off the new Canada West women’s basketball campaign at home to the Fraser Valley Cascades.
“Everyone is excited to get going and I’m anticipating a really good start,” said Semeniuk. “We’re not necessarily going to measure our season in wins and losses, but in how we play and in challenging each other to compete. We don’t want to make anything easy for other teams the year.”
The 2014-15 CIS season will be Semeniuk’s 21st and last at the helm of the Okanagan’s women’s varsity program.
Semeniuk describes her final version of the Heat as an “undersized, but agile and quick,” basketball team.
“We need to rely on our talent and play a pressure defense,” she added.
Led by the likes of veterans Angela White, Emily Kanester, Sarah Allison, Kayla McFadden and Jessica Jazdarehee, the Heat will play this season out of the new Explorer division of Canada West. UBCO will play four games each against Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers, UNBC, Calgary’s Mount Royal and Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan.
“I’m excited to see how the girls step up and grow this season, to see them take their game to a new level against some strong teams,” Semeniuk said.
As for her final season in charge of the Heat program, Semeniuk doesn’t plan to spend a whole lot of time reflecting on it.
“I won’t think about it too much, ” said Semeniuk. “When the kids put this much time into it, it’s special to see the rewards they get out of it…that’s what’s important.”
The Heat, who were 3-19 in conference play last season, will face UFV Friday at 6 p.m. and again Saturday at 5 p.m. at the UBCO gym.
Meanwhile, the UBCO athletic department is currently accepting applications for Semeniuk’s position and hopes to name the future coach prior to Christmas.
At just 20 and with two years of previous CIS experience, guard Mitch Goodwin is the most seasoned player on the UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team.
No surprise then that youth will be the name of the game when the Heat take to the court on Friday for their Canada West opener at home against University of Fraser Valley.
With the departures of several veterans, including fifth-year players Yassine Ghomari and Landry Ndayitwayeko, Goodwin is the only returning starter and one of only three players who logged more than 100 minutes of floor time last season.
UBCO will have its fair share of local talent this season, with Goodwin being joined by second-year players Ryan Linttell and Dario Gini, along with rookies Buzz Truss (KSS) and Travis Worthing (RSS).
The Heat went 4-18 in conference play in 2013-14.
The Heat and Cascades meet at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday at the UBCO campus gym.