In a game that couldn’t have been any different than Saturday’s five-set battle royale, the No.3 ranked University of Alberta Pandas ousted the No.10 UBC Okanagan Heat in a straight-sets victory on Sunday to take the weekend series sweep Saville Community Sports Centre.
For the second straight match freshman outside hitter Megan Festival (Calgary, AB), in her home province, was a focal point of the UBC Okanagan attack. She led the Heat offence with nine kills while fellow rookie Emily Oxland (N. Vancouver, BC) served up 15 assists.
Festival was tops for the Heat with 28 attacks versus the Pandas, Alex Basso (5th year, Kelowna, BC) only took 10 swings in the three set loss. A difference of 29 attacks for the captain, in comparison to Saturday’s marathon where Basso attacked 39 times to lead the team – Festival was second in attacks with 30 in the Saturday matchup.
The more experienced Pandas relied on their veterans to get through the Sunday afternoon game and were led by senior middle Lia Stang. Lia spun a game-high dozen kills, earning a stellar 63.2 per cent attack rating and fifth-year left side Krista Zubick also cracked double digits with 10. Veteran setter Jaki Ellis had a game-high 22 assists to go with seven kills and four aces, bumping her to second place in Canada West career aces with 113.
The Heat struggled on Sunday, committing eight attack errors and two on the serve, including a serve into the net to end the first set 25-13.
The middle set didn’t go much better for the visitors, only getting a half-dozen kills for the second-straight set. The Pandas utilized a series of runs to put away the Heat.
The third set also consisted of notable point runs, unfortunately for UBC Okanagan the Pandas went from 4-4 to 16-4 after a 13 point run, which essentially minimized the effectiveness of the Heat’s late 6-1 run. With the run UBC Okanagan could only reduce the large deficit to six points, 22-16, but the Pandas lead proved to be too much, winning the set 25-17 to complete the sweep.
The 6-4 Heat head home to host the Trinity Western Spartans with another Saturday and Sunday weekend, while the 8-2 Pandas will remain at home in their final weekend of conference play in 2012, hosting the Mount Royal Cougars.
The UBC Okanagan women are proving to be anything but pushovers in their second season of Canada West basketball.
The Heat earned a split at home over the weekend, while throwing a scare into one of the top teams in Canada in the process.
On Friday night, UBCO won its third game of the season taking down the Brandon Bobcats 68-56.
The Heat jumped out to a double-digit lead just nine minutes into the game and and never looked back.
Second-year guard Sarah Allison led a balance attack with 19 points, while ellow sophomore guard, Emily Kanester had five rebounds, four steals and seven points for the Heat.
“We played three good quarters of basketball,” commented Heat Coach Heather Semeniuk. “We need to work on keeping a consistent game.” The Heat led by as many as 24 going into the fourth, but sloppy play allowed Brandon to win the fourth quarter, out-scoring the Heat 22-10 in the final 10 minutes.
On Saturday, the Heat came back with another solid effort before dropping a 76-64 contest to the No.3-ranked Regina Cougars.
Thanks in large part to the hot shooting of Krystal Schouten, UBCO hung tough with the Cougars for 20 minutes as the game was tied 36-36 at the half.
But the Cougars rang up a 22-9 third quarter to put the Heat away.
Schouten finished the night with 20 points, while Emily Kanester had her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite the loss, the Heat’s head coach was pleased with the effort.
“I’m just pleased with the effort and heart we showed,” said Heather Semeniuk following the game. “We’ve always enjoyed good challenges.”
The Heat (3-5) will be on the road this to close out their 2012 schedule against Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg.
The UBC Okanagan men were close on both nights but came up empty in pair of Canada West home games.
On Friday, Ilarion Bonhomme scored 28 points to lead the Brandon Bobcats to a 64-58 win over the Heat.
“The guys worked really hard tonight,”said Heat head coach Pete Guarasci. “They [the Bobcats] hit some big threes in the final quarter which separated them and gave them a win.”
Third-year guard, Anwar Faza had 13 points and six rebounds for the host Heat, while backcourt mate, freshman Mitch Goodwin added another 13 points and three steals.
On Saturday, an emphatic slam dunk by Azi Fahandeg-Sadi at 5:36 in the fourth quarter sparked the Heat offense, but it was not enough visiting Regina Cougars defeated UBCO 74-68.
Fahandeg-Sadi finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Goodwin led the team with 23 points.
After trailing 20-9 at the end of the opening quarter, the Heat recovered make a game of it but fell just short.
“The guys battled as hard as they could to get back in the game,”said Guarasci following the game, “but the mental focus just wasn’t there from the start.”
This weekend, the Heat (1-7) travel to Winnipeg to take on Manitoba and the U of Winnipeg in the final conference games before Christmas.