Calgary, AB – In their closest game of the conference season, the Heat women's basketball team fell just two points short of forcing overtime as they dropped a 78-76 decision to Mount Royal at Kenyon Court on Saturday afternoon.
A Vanessa Botteselle made jumper stopped the clock with 13.4 seconds remaining for the Heat, cutting the Cougars lead to one (77-76). UBCO, forced to foul, put Mount Royal's Maddison Hopper on the line. Hopper missed the first and then made the second free throw, allowing Heat coach Bobby Mitchell to get his timeout and advance the ball to half court.
With 11.4 seconds left UBC Okanagan worked the ball to Ana Evans, whose three-point attempt at the buzzer fell just short, leaving MRU with the two-point victory.
The Heat were led by Jordan Korol, the Cougars had no answer all weekend for the forward from Coldstream, BC, who finished the game with 24 points and 15 rebounds, her second straight night with a double-double.
The lone fifth-year player on UBCO, Vanessa Botteselle, would also finish with a double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds and adding 16 points.
Second-year guard Claire Feasby, playing in her hometown of Calgary, would have a career-high performance on the night with 17 points in 28 minutes of action, including a clutch three late in the fourth quarter tied the game at 72.
Every single Cougars' player that hit the floor scored in the matchup. Michelle Tiffany led the way with 14 points, and Charity Marlatt added 12 points, all of which came in the second half. Marlatt also came down with nine rebounds.
The two teams found success scoring from different areas of the court in the first quarter. The Cougars, hot from the outside, hitting four of their six three-point attempts in the first 10 minutes. The Heat found their way to the free-throw line early and often, converting all their opportunities at the line in the quarter.
The second quarter saw the fast-paced action continue with multiple lead changes and ended with a last-second three from the Cougars' Jordan Blaskin sent UBCO down one (36-35) into the break.
The Cougars were able to get some breathing room when Charity Marlatt scored six straight points, and 10 total points in the third, converting on her chances in the paint.
The Heat tied the game with three minutes left after a deep three-point shot from Feasby, setting the stage for the stretch run of the game.
The Cougars were able to respond by scoring five straight points, taking the lead (77-72) heading into the final minute, forcing a UBCO timeout.
Jordan Korol converted for the Heat after the timeout, a UBCO stop and then Botteselle made her aforementioned jumper with 13 seconds remaining.
Coach Bobby Mitchell's thoughts on the weekend:
"Friday night [we were] disappointed with our start, but [we] definitely got better as the game went on. [We] showed a lot of fight to battle back [got to within three in the fourth], but we can't keep having the starts that we did in that Friday game.
Saturday, we put together four quarters, for the most part, one of our better, more consistent performances to date. We had a lot of players who stepped up tonight [on Saturday]. Both Claire Feasby [Feasby with a player of the game and career-high on Saturday] and Jordan Korol with career nights this weekend. But we fell a little short today, [we] had a chance to win with a shot at the end. The shot didn't fall. [The coaching staff is] Very proud of the girls, very proud of the team, and how they responded to the coach's challenge [we put in front of them from Friday night] and did their part."
Both on Friday and Saturday night Jordan Korol recorded a double-double in not just the game but in a single half of basketball.
On Friday, in the second half alone, Korol tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds to send her to single-game career highs in both points (26), and rebounds (18).
Then in the first half on Saturday, it was 13 points and 10 rebounds that did the trick for Korol.
For the weekend two-game series the fourth year totaled 50 points, on 50-percent shooting (21-42), and 33 rebounds, 14 on the offensive end.
Both teams will be back in action next weekend. The Cougars (4-4) will welcome the MacEwan Griffins (2-6) to town for a two-game series, while the Heat (0-8) will be back on the road, as they head to Kamloops to take on the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (1-5). All games can be streamed live on canadawest.tv.
The Friday (Nov. 23) game in Kamloops for UBCO has an early 11 a.m. PST tip-off time. For the Saturday (Nov. 24) game, it wil also be a matinee event, with a 1 p.m. PST start time.