The University of British Columbia

RECAP: Heat women cap off solid preseason with appearance at 51st Naismith Classic

RECAP: Heat women cap off solid preseason with appearance at 51st Naismith Classic

Waterloo, Ont. The Heat women's basketball team travelled to Waterloo for a trio of exhibition games against two OUA teams and one AUS team. 

One of four U SPORTS women's basketball teams taking part in the Naismith Classic, the Heat went 1-2 in the 51st edition of the historic tournament that ran from Thursday through Saturday. When you add those results to the rest of their preseason schedule Bobby Mitchell's squad is 7-2 and are primed and ready for the Canada West conference season to begin.

At the Naismith, UBCO's first opponent was the host team the University of Waterloo which the Heat brought down (69-52), but they would fall (79-72) in a tight match against St. Mary's University and would lose their third game (66-50) to the Laurier Golden Hawks.

The Heat opened the tournament on Thursday as they took on the hosts. Rookie Jaeli Ibbetson continued her strong performances this pre-season with her game-high 18 points. She added nine boards as well in her 35 minutes against the Warriors. 

The Heat found themselves down (32-28) at the half but were guided to victory by fifth-year senior Jordan Korol who put up 12 second-half points off of six of seven shooting from the field.

On Friday the Heat dropped a close match to the Huskies as Korol continued her dominance with 19 points with 19 boards for the double-double.

The Heat ended their preseason against the Golden Hawks. With the early start time and the third match in as many days coach Mitchell was more democratic with the playing time. 10 players in the saw the floor for over double digits in minutes played.

Heat head coach Bobby Mitchell said "The preseason was great for us to grow and learn how to play together. We were able to get lots of feedback of what we need to do better."

With rookies Kelsey Falk, Lucy Faba, and Jaeli Ibbetson having solid showcases through nine exhibition games, it has coach Mitchell excited.

"There are many positives about our preseason but what stands out is how much we have grown especially our youth. Everyone is finding their role and doing everything they can to contribute."

Falk shot (11-14) over the course of the tournament for 23 points. Faba started all three games for the Heat and played a total of 75 minutes. Ibbetson recorded 36 points and 21 boards in the three games.

Heading into the regular season, the Heat will be looking to carry confidence from their seven wins this preseason.

"Our compete level has been very high and consistent, this group loves to work hard and it will always give us a chance to be in games," says coach Mitchell.

UBCO open their Canada West regular-season schedule on November 1, but they will be on the road in Manitoba for back to back games against the Bisons. 

The Heat's home-opener is on Friday, November 8 with a special 10:30 a.m. tip-off time. The host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in what will be scored in the Presidents' Cup competition between the schools.