Prince George, BC - Although the Heat women's basketball team scored a season best 75 points on Friday night, their defense did not do enough to capture that first win of the season as they fell 87-75 to the UNBC Timberwolves.
The TWolves duo of Maria Mongomo and Vasiliki Louka proved once again why they are a tough matchup for any team in Canada West. Fuelled by Mongomo's 29 points 10 rebound night, and aided by Louka's 20 points and 16 rebounds, a season high offense showing by UBCO was still not enough to slow down the UNBC pair.
Head coach Claire Meadows points to a slow start for the reason the team couldn't pull out the win. "We got off to a slow start, but our conversation was about being connected as a team,"said Heat coach Claire Meadows. "After the first seven minutes, we played together, and it cleaned up a lot of our game."The Heat (0-12) will be back on home court next weekend, when they host the conference's best in the Saskatchewan Huskies (11-1).
The TWolves came out firing in the first quarter, asserting themselves at both ends of the floor. Maria Mongomo got to the paint with regularity, and led the home side to a 27-9 lead after the first. The Heat wouldn't allow history to repeat itself, however, going on a huge run to end the second quarter, drawing the Timberwolves advantage to just six points after twenty minutes. UBCO's pressure forced the TWolves into a number of turnovers, and it was 41-35 at half.
UBCO again proved to be a thorn in the Timberwolves' side in quarter three, going blow for blow with the green and gold. Shenelle Tamminen shot the lights out, going three-for-three from long range, and keeping it a six point game at the conclusion of the third quarter. The Heat narrowed the Timberwolves lead to just one with less than three minutes to go. But that was Mongomo time, and she nailed a clutch three-pointer to seal the game for UNBC in the final minute. The product of Las Palmas, Spain would finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists.
- The Timberwolves shot 51% from the field on the night (32-63), compared to just 42% for the Heat (26-62). The two teams were pretty equal from behind the arc, as the T-Wolves had eight makes compared to seven for the Heat.
- UNBC would win the rebounding battle 36-26, while both teams turned it over 15 times in the contest. This dominance on the glass led to the T-wolves outscoring the Heat in the paint 34-20.
- Forward Shenelle Tamminen led the Heat with 14 points along with eight rebounds in 25 minutes of playing time.
- The guard combo of Emma Jonas and Vanessa Botteselle would combine for 26 points (13 each), and Botteselle would also have a game high five assists. The backcourt pair were instrumental in the Heat's push late in the game.
- Not far behind the Mongomo, Louka combo for the T-wolves was Madison Landry who chipped in with 19 points.
More from Coach Claire Meadows:
"Right now, we aren't looking at outcome. We are a young team and we take these as small victories," Meadows said postgame. "Today, we showed a lot of determination and grit, and that is huge for us moving forward."
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information; with notes from Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics