Vancouver, BC - It was another superb performance from senior guard Vanessa Botteselle on Friday night against the UBC Thunderbirds as she dropped a career-high 29 points to go with four rebounds and four steals.
While Botteselle did her best to keep the Heat in it, they were unable to capture the victory on the night as the 'Birds used a big third quarter to capture the 69-51 win in the War Memorial Gym.
These two teams will battle it out once again tomorrow night in Vancouver, with tip slated for 5 p.m. PST.
The charity stipe would be the deciding factor in the game, as the T-birds outscored the visitors 13-3 from the foul line.
Brianna Falk started her third straight conference game coming off an injury and would chip in with nine rebounds and six points for UBCO.
Forward Keylyn Filewhich and guard Maddison Penn both finished with a double-double for the home team, led by Filewhich's 20 points and 10 boards.
The visitors got out to a quick 9-1 run off the opening tipoff while the 'Birds struggled early to find their way both from the field and the charity stripe. UBC's Hailey Counsell sunk a no-doubter from three-point range and after a Heat turnover, the 'Birds closed the gap further with a Madison Penn layup.
UBC got within two points before the Heat went on another run to take a 17-10 lead at the quarter break. The bulk of the damage was done by Vanessa Botteselle who put up 13 points while going a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range.
The 'Birds had a rough first frame of the New Year in all aspects, shooting just 2-for-18 from the field while the Heat shot just shy of 37 percent.
UBC Okanagan scored their first basket of the second frame six minutes in to halt the T-Birds' 10-0 run to start the quarter. Some quick passing down low by the 'Birds was capped off by a Jessica Hanson layup that opened up a seven-point UBC lead. The Heat answered back with a Botteselle three-pointer and the visitors from Kelowna got back within two, down 28-26 at the half.
Filewich caught fire in the second quarter draining five of six shots from the field while adding a pair of free throws for a 12 point frame.
The 'Birds put their start well past them by the early stages of the second half as Penn dropped back-to-back threes as part of a 13-3 run to start the third. UBC held the Heat to just 11 points in the frame while scoring a whopping 27 of their own to take a 55-37 lead heading to the fourth.
The Heat remained determined to close their large deficit in the final ten minutes which featured some quick back-and-forth action. But UBCO was unable to gain momentum as the home side captured the 69-51 win.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information, notes from Jeff Sargeant, UBC Thunderbirds