Going into her third season as the head coach of the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball team, Claire Meadows has delivered on one of her key building principles.
Meadows has brought in another strong recruiting class, with six new faces are set to suit up in the Blue and Gold this fall.
With holes to fill from the loss of four players to graduation, including the program’s all-time leading scorer in Vernon guard Emily Kanester, Meadows has reached into the NCAA, Calgary, the Lower Mainland, and locally in the Junior Heat club program.
Two forwards and four guards make up the new class with Anastasia Evans (6-0 F, Coquitlam/Dr. Charles Best, Auburn University at Montgomery) and Brianna Falk (5-11 F, Vernon) adding size and skill on the frontline.
The four backcourt players are Lindsey Bott (5-10 G, N. Vancouver-Seycove), Sadie Beers (5-9 G, Vancouver-Little Flower), Claire Feasby (5-10 G, Calgary-Western Canada) and Kate Johnson (5-8 G, Kelowna-Immaculata).
With such a diverse group Meadows in pleased with the prospects of her young program.
“This is an exciting year for our program as we have added a lot of young talent to our roster,” said Meadows. “We are adding some size, quickness and a handful players who can shoot the ball very well. It will be very exciting to watch them development and grow in our Heat program.”
Sadie Beers is a provincial team shooting guard from Vancouver’s Little Flower Academy. Beers can knock down the three, hitting eight in last season’s high school postseason. The sharp shooting guard has played on Team BC in both her U17 age group as well as U14.
A strong student, Beers will begin her academic career in the Arts program at UBC Okanagan.
“I cannot wait to suit up in a Heat uniform this fall and am extremely excited to be a part of this team,” Beers said. “I will look to bring positive energy and a good work ethic to the team. I hope to continue to grow all around as a player and to help contribute to the success of the program.”
The 5-foot-11 guard from Burnaby’s Seycove Secondary will look to help the backcourt for the Heat in the upcoming season.
Bott has been a starter on the Seycove senior girls’ team since grade 10, and won two provincial medals. A silver medal in her Grade 11 year followed up with a B.C. Championship in this April in her Grade 12 year.
Academically, Lindsey will enter the Arts with the possibility of pursuing an English or Psychology major.
A product of Coquitlam’s Dr. Charles Best Secondary, Ana Evans the 6-foot-1 forward, will be transferring from Auburn University at Montgomery to the Heat after playing two seasons for the NCAA Div. 2 school.
At Dr. Charles Best Anastasia captained her senior team for three seasons and brought the team to an eighth place finish at BC provincials in the school’s first ever appearance at the tournament. At AUM this past season Evans averaged 17 minutes a game, started in six contests as a sophomore, contributing four points a game with a career high of 16 points.
Academically Anna will transfer into the Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology, with a long-term academic goal of eventually becoming a physician.
“I chose UBCO because it is a great academic school with a curriculum that will support my journey toward becoming a physician,” Evans said. “Athletically I chose UBCO because I believe Coach Meadows will help me with my development on and off the court. The team is young and I envision I can play a role in helping us reach the goal of making it to the U Sports tournament.”
A 5-foot-9 forward from Vernon who played her club basketball with the Junior Heat, Falk was instrumental in the great run with the VSS Panthers in her grade 12 season, leading the team to a 35-2 overall record and a provincial silver medal. Falk earned a first team provincial all-star for her efforts.
Enrolled in the Nursing program at UBC Okanagan Falk’s goal is to become a registered nurse. Helping others is a passion for Falk who has already travelled to Africa in 2016 to help in an orphanage for two weeks. In 2017 Falk travelled to Guatemala to help install water filtration systems during her Spring Break.
The 5-foot-10 guard and Calgary native will strengthen the UBC Okanagan backcourt with her big game experience. This past season Claire won a provincial 4A silver medal with her high school team, Western Canada High, along with the Redhawk Invitational Championship where she was named the MVP of the tournament. A consistent long range threat, Feasby has hit a three in 55 consecutive games for her school team.
The younger sister to current Heat basketball players Emma and Olivia, Kate played with the very successful Immaculata Mustangs program, medalling at one provincial and four Catholics championships.
Along with Ashlyn Day, Johnson played a lead role in the Mustangs’ march to gold and a 61-41 victory over Holy Cross in this year’s B.C. Catholics final.
In her Grade 11 season, her second with the Immaculata senior team and first as a starter, Johnson was named the MVP of the 2016 Mustang Classic and a second-team all-star at the B.C. AA provincial tournament.
Kate is also a product of the Junior Heat program.
“Kate is a gifted athlete who has had a lot of success playing a number of different sports throughout high school. She plays the game with incredible pace and is extremely explosive in the open court,” said Heat coach
“Kate will also bring a presence on defense as her athleticism will allow her to pressure and defend the ball.”
Vernon’s Jordyn Cullum, one of last year’s top recruits, will also join the Heat this season after redshirting and sitting out with an injury in 2016-17.
The UBCO Heat women’s basketball team will open their 2016-17 campaign Nov. 4 and 5 against their long-time rival, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in the Furnace.