VICTORIA – UBC Okanagan trailed for the entire game en route to the UVic Vikes women's basketball team picking up a 64–54 win over the visiting Heat to start their 2017-18 Canada West campaign in the loss column.
While UBCO never led in the game at the CARSA Performance Gym, they also never trailed by more than 15 points in the contest as the team from Kelowna battled hard to get back into the match whenever it looked like the Vikes may pull away.
Both teams went to the bench early and often in the contest as they try to figure out the lineup that will lead their team to success throughout the season.
A big first quarter lead was all the Vikes needed in the contest.
A slow start offensively for UBC Okanagan allowed the Vikes to fend off the Heat throughout the game. Ending the first frame up 17-7, the teams would trade baskets throughout much of the rest of the game, with the resilient Heat having the answer whenever the deficit began to climb too high.
"We did that (battled back) better towards the end of the night but at the start of the game we gave up too many offensive rebounds and turned the ball over," said Heat head coach Claire Meadows. "That got us into a deficit and it's hard to overcome that."
For Meadows the improvement for her team needs to come in the basics of the game.
"Take care of the ball and box out."
Heat scoring leaders
Shenelle Tamminen led the way for the Heat with 12 points in her 26 minutes on the court.
Kate Johnson got her U SPORTS career off to a flashy start with ten points in the contest on five-for-seven shooting.
"She is one of the fastest players that I have seen in a while," said Meadows of her rookie guard. "She brings a great spark for us both offensively and defensively."
Emma Jonas chipped in with eight points for the Heat.
Vikes scoring leaders
Fourth-year Vike Kristy Gallagher led the team in scoring with 20 points in the match, nine of which came in the fourth quarter with the Heat threatening to trim the deficit.
Katie Langdon chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds as the third-year player stepped up to fill the shoes of some recently graduated Vikes.
"She was a force," said UVic head coach Dani Sinclair. "On the offensive end she was always looking for the ball and I think she set the tone at the start of the game on the glass."
Amira Giannattasio and first-year Vike Ashlyn Day rounded out the scoring for the team with nine points each in the contest.
The Heat will get their chance for revenge tomorrow night when these same two teams do battle on the Ken and Kathy Shields Court inside the CARSA Performance Gym at 5 p.m.
The game tomorrow night can be watched live on Canadawest.tv
Highlights courtesy of UVic
~ With notes from Cameron Doherty, Vikes Communications