Calgary, AB - A strong second and third quarter for the Heat women was not enough on Friday night as they dropped the first of a two game set with the Mount Royal Cougars by a final score of 73-62.
Trailing by 16 after the opening quarter, the Heat would trail by just seven heading to the final frame but were unable to capture their first win of the season.
Jordan Korol had another outstanding performance for UBCO as she finished with a career-high in points (26) along with rebounds (18). The fourth year forward also did something no Heat player has ever done before, recording a double-double in just a single half. Korol had 12 rebounds in the second half alone, along with 14 points.
Maddison Hooper was the leading scorer for the Cougars with 21 points. Charity Marlatt also made a huge impact, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end. MRU made nine threes in the game, forcing the Heat to guard them all over the floor.
The two teams came out of the gates on fire. The Cougars made three three-pointers in the first three minutes and started to control the game with an aggressive attack and their ability to keep offensive possessions alive off the glass.
The second quarter started with a Heat run that saw them chip into the Cougars lead, but MRU responded strong, using their full-court defense to force some turnovers and convert the resulting opportunities into points.
After a made three-pointer from Alesha Stanley in the final minute, the Cougars took a 13-point lead into the halftime break.
Korol led the Heat at halftime as she had 12 points and six rebounds. She made her impact finishing well inside and getting to the free-throw line.
The home came out of the break on a 9-3 run to start the third. Their aggressive defence helped them get out in transition and take advantage of their opportunities on the open floor.
Despite the Cougars growing their lead, Korol was able to keep the Heat in reach by scoring nine points in the first five minutes of the quarter. The Heat were able to respond and cut into the Cougar lead. After Claire Feasby scored five straight points, the Heat cut their deficit to seven heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Heat kept attacking right into the final quarter and were able to slowly cut the Cougars lead until it was a one-possession game with less than five minutes to go.
In the end, the Heat couldn't overcome the Cougars attack and their comeback effort fell short. The Cougars got big baskets down the stretch from Maria Blanco and Jordan Blaskin that helped them seal their victory in the final minutes of the game.
The series continues Saturday afternoon at Kenyon Court. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. MDT and can be streamed live on canadawest.tv.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information, notes from Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics