VICTORIA – The University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat put on their best offensive performance of the season and outlasted the University of Victoria Vikes 83-77 in a thriller on Saturday night at the CARSA Performance Gym.
The Heat were a completely different team in the weekend finale.
Last night, the Heat lost by 25 and only scored 43 points. Tonight, they led the Vikes 43-40 at halftime.
The Heat were running away in the first half on the strength of a pair of threes by Tessa Burton and nine points from Ana Evans.
The Vikes had their hands full with Jordan Korol, who was in command from the start for the Heat. While she wasn't knocking down jumpers, she got the ball up on the glass and poured in six points in the first and another four in the second.
The sharp-shooting night from the Heat staked them to a 39-26 lead at one point, until the Kelowna product Ashlyn Day got the Vikes going in the right direction.
A pair of steals and three rebounds got Day going. She turned that hard work into the greatest offensive game of her career. She went 16-for-24 for 35 points. It was the first time she broke the 30-point barrier.
Fifth-year Vikes guard Kristy Gallagher also slowed down the Heat in the second quarter by getting to the free throw line five times. The Canada West's 10th best shooter from the line helped the Vikes claw back by connecting on six of her shots from the line to give her 14 on the evening.
The back-and-forth second half was engineered by Lucy Faba of the Heat. She kept the Heat rolling with a team-high six assists.
Korol kept coming at the Vikes and began to make her free throws (6-of-9 on the evening). She denied second-chance opportunities for the Vikes with 10 of her game-high 12 rebounds coming in her own end.
The final five minutes were frantic.
Alessia Brutto dialed up a pull-up jumper to stretch the Heat lead to five.
Gallagher answered with a ferocious drive through the lane and completed the and-1 opportunity.
Kelsey Falk spotted Evans in a blown Vikes defensive coverage for the layup.
Vikes guard Calli McMillan raced down the court for a layup contributing to her six points, but the Heat knocked down 3-of-6 free throws down the stretch to keep the Vikes at bay.
For the Heat, it was a historic first-ever win over the Island rival in Canada West play and it snapped an eight-game losing streak and a nine-game slide against the Vikes.
Next weekend, the Vikes (7-3) are on the road to take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (9-0). The Heat (2-10) are also on the road, as they play a pair in Edmonton against the University of Alberta Pandas (8-2).
By Tyler Lowey, Vikes Communications