WINNIPEG – The Heat women's basketball team (2-0) fought a defensive battle Saturday night at Investors Group Athletic Centre, but it would not be enough for a win as they fell (60-59) to the Manitoba Bisons (2-0).
Jaeli Ibbetson had a double-double with 21 points and 17 boards, while Taylor Randall led the Bisons with 22 points.
Manitoba opened up a (7-0) lead in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the first period thanks to Randall, who scored the team's first seven points, including a trey. But the Heat battled back, narrowing the deficit to just one at (18-17) after ten thanks to eight free throw attempts.
Alessia Brutto gave the Heat their first lead at (22-20) early in the second, however, Manitoba battled back and took a (38-28) lead into halftime. Three treys contributed to the cause, with one each from forward Emma Thompson and sisters Lauren and Deidre Bartlett.
Ibbetson, who was excellent the previous night, once again led UBCO in points, with nine, as well as seven rebounds in a hard battle on the glass from both sides.
Defence continued to be the story of the third, as the two teams combined for just 15 points through the first seven minutes of play. Manitoba had sustained success with a smaller lineup, utilizing Randall, the Bartlett sisters and captain Keziah Broters in multiple instances.
Ibbetson was once again the catalyst for UBCO with seven points, thanks to her inside presence. Manitoba got six more points from Randall however, while rookie Emily Johnson and Calgary transfer/local product Autumn Agar maximized their minutes at the forward position. The former scored four points as Manitoba led (50-41) after three.
The Heat cut Manitoba's lead down to as little as one with a minute to go, once again led by an inspired inside performance from Ibbetson and captain Jordan Korol, who had a double-double. They had an opportunity to win the game with five seconds left, however Emma Thompson came up with two huge rebounds to secure the (60-59) win.
Coach Mitchell's thoughts on the weekend:
I am really proud of our effort and compete this weekend, beyond the first quarter of Friday we did a lot of really good things which carried over to Saturday. We put ourself in a situation to win and had a couple of looks that didn't fall late in the game. Our young group is learning and growing each quarter and we have lots to build off of next week as we prepare for new challenges with TRU. We learned how important possessions are at this level and that will help us moving forward.
Next up for UBCO is a home tilt against Thompson Rivers, while Manitoba has the bye.
Ibbetson's excellent weekend:
In her first two games of Canada West basketball, Jaeli Ibbetson totalled 41 points and 30 rebounds. After one week of conference play, the first-year forward from Kelowna Secondary is second in the conference in scoring and first in rebounding.
~ Seyara Campbell, Heat Sports Information, with notes from Mike Still, Bison Sports