KELOWNA, BC - Going into Claire Meadows' third season as the head coach of the UBC Okanagan Heat women's basketball team has delivered on one of her key building principle by bringing in another strong recruiting class with six new faces set to suit up in the Blue and Gold this fall.
Losing four players to graduation, including the program's all-time leading scorer in Vernon guard Emily Kanester, Meadows had a number of spots to fill and has reached into the NCAA, Calgary, the Lower Mainland, and locally in the Junior Heat Club program to fill those holes.
Two forwards and four guards make up the outstanding 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. 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," explained an excited Meadows.
Sadie Beers is a 5'9" 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. When not training with Team BC or LFA Beers was a member of Triple Threat for both U15 and U15.
A strong student, Beers will begin her academic career in the Arts program at UBC Okanagan, influencing her decision to come to Kelowna was the people, the education, and the program.
Sadie Beers on coming to UBC Okanagan…
"I chose UBCO because they have a great basketball program that is continuing to grow with everyone, coaching staff and players included were so welcoming when I got the chance to visit and scrimmage with the team. I also liked the smaller size of the university and the high level of academics."
"I cannot wait to suit up in a Heat uniform this fall and am extremely excited to be a part of this team. 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."
Claire Meadows on Sadie Beers …
"Sadie is a gritty guard who also brings a scoring touch to our team with her consistent shooting. Sadie will fit into our culture nicely as she is an excellent student with a very strong work ethic and positive attitude."
Lindsey Bott the 5'11" guard from Burnaby's Seycove Secondary will look to help the backcourt for the Heat in the upcoming season.
Lindsey possess both provincial and national level accolades including being a starter for Team BC U15 and a member of the Team BC U16 team that won the bronze medal in Fort McMurray at the Western Canada Games in 2015. 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 BC Championship this April in her grade 12 year. At this year's provincial championship, the guard was named a second team All-Star following a first team nod at the competitive North Shore tournament.
Academically, Lindsey will enter the Arts with the possibility of pursuing an English or Psychology major and takin g it all the way into the master's program.
Lindsey Bott on coming to UBC Okanagan…
"I love that I will be getting a UBC degree while being able to experience the Okanagan and play basketball at the same time. It has always been my goal to play basketball in university and throughout my childhood I always loved being in Kelowna; so UBCO was the perfect option for me."
Claire Meadows on Lindsey Bott…
"Lindsey is an excellent three point shooter and will also add size to the guard position. She will bring a competitive work ethic with her as she comes from a winning high school program. We are excited to add Lindsey to our roster and look forward to see her development with the Heat."
A product of Coquitlam's Dr. Charles Best Secondary, Ana Evans the 6'1" forward, will be transferring from Auburn University at Montgomery to the Heat after playing two seasons for the NCAA Division 2 school.
Evans was part of Team BC at the U16 level along with BC's Finest U17 squad. 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. In Evans' senior year for the Coquitlam school she averaged 14 points a game. At AUM this past season Evans averaged 17 minutes a game, started in six contests as a sophomore and contributed four points a game with a career high of 16 points.
A great all-around athlete Evans was a two time provincial champion high jumper and finished third and sixth nationally in high jump competitions before deciding on basketball full time.
Athleticism runs in the family as her younger brother Issac is in his second year with the Simon Fraser University Football team. Academically Anna will transfer into the Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology, with a long-term academic goal of medical school and eventually become a physician.
Anastasia Evans on coming to UBC Okanagan…
"I chose UBCO because it is a great academic school with a curriculum that will support my journey toward becoming a physician. 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. I will live on residence."
"I cannot wait to be a part of the Heat, I think my past experience and maturity will be a great asset to the team this season"
Claire Meadows on Anastasia Evans…
"Ana joins our program after playing two years in the States. Ana will bring size, experience and leadership to our team. She is an excellent athlete and has many tools as she can battle inside, around the rim and also stretch her game to the 3 point line. Not to mention, Ana has academic aspirations to attend med school once she completes her undergraduate degree."
Brianna Falk is a 5'9" forward from Vernon, BC who played her club basketball with the Junior Heat
Falk was instrumental in the great run with the Vernon Secondary Panthers in her grade 12 season leading the team to a 35-2 overall record, and a provincial championship silver medal. Falk earned a first team Provincial All-Star for her efforts. In grade 11 Falk was awarded an honourable mention All-Star at 2016 AA provincials.
Outside of basketball, Brianna played on the girls' high school soccer team from grade 8-12.
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.
Brianna Falk on coming to UBC Okanagan…
"I am extremely excited to be able to put on a Heat uniform again! Although I was only playing for the Junior club team for the last two years I still felt the impact Claire and Bobby had on the program and I can't wait to be coached by such two amazing people. Next year I hope my physicality will bring more aggression to the team and my willingness to drive to the hoop will lead to scoring opportunities."
Claire Meadows on Brianna Falk…
"Brianna is a Swiss army knife. Throughout her high school career Brianna had to play positions 1-through-5 and she played all positions very well. She can handle the ball comfortably, her size allows her to have a presence inside and she has an excellent basketball IQ. We will continue to utilize Brianna's different strengths in our program."
5'10" guard and Calgary native Claire Feasby 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 Feasby 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.
Feasby has some experience with Heat head coach Claire Meadows, the Calgary guard played for Meadows when she was the coach of the Team Alberta U15 squad.
Claire Feasby on coming to UBC Okanagan…
"I chose UBCO because Kelowna is the perfect location for me; it's away from home but not too far, it has the program I was looking for, and the campus has a great feel. I played for Claire Meadows when she was the coach of the U15 Team Alberta, and I am excited to play for her and Bobby Mitchell at UBCO."
"I look forward to the next chapter in my basketball and academic careers at UBCO. I aspire to make an important contribution to the rising Heat women's basketball program."
Claire Meadows on Claire Feasby…
"I had the privilege of coaching Claire with the U15 Alberta Provincial team a few years ago. Claire is an excellent shooter and will bring size to the guard position. She possess an affinity for the game and will be a great ambassador for this program and school"
Kate is a local guard who achieved unbelievable success with the Immaculata Mustangs in a stellar high school career.
Kate was profiled here: http://goheat.ca/sports/wbkb/2016-17/releases/20170108ym7ydq
Claire Meadows on Kate Johnson…
"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. Kate will also bring a presence on defense as her athleticism will allow her to pressure and defend the ball."
Not to be forgotten the Heat will also finally see last year's prize recruit form Vernon, Jordyn Cullum, on the court as a first year player. Cullum spent the 2016-17 season as a redshirt while healing from an injury.
Jordyn was profiled here: https://news.ok.ubc.ca/athrec/2016/01/12/30800/
The UBCO Heat women's basketball team will open their 2016-17 campaign against their long-time rival the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in the Furnace. The tip times will be noon on Saturday Nov.4th and 1 p.m. on Nov. 5th in Kelowna. For the full women's basketball schedule click here.