Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan Heat
KELOWNA, BC - The Heat returned home to the UBC Okanagan gymnasium on Friday night, after a tough weekend on the road against the Brandon Bobcats, to host the Mount Royal University Cougars this weekend. The fifth game of the season for the Heat was a loss, as the final score was 68-54 in favour of Mount Royal.
The bench made the difference on Friday night for the Cougars, as it provided 31 of the team's 68 points while the Heat bench put up 18. Mount Royal also led in most statistical categories on the night, as they outshot UBC Okanagan 38.7% - 23.3% from the field and 14.3% - 9.5% from three-point range, and out-rebounded them, 56-51.
The Mount Royal offence was led by Desiree Oakley, Becky Nash, and Erin Kehrig, who finished with 18, 16, and 12 points respectively. Nash also grabbed 15 rebounds to finished with a double-double.
Two players finished in double digits for the Heat, with Emily Kanester and Chloe Kennedy each scoring 10. Jordan Korol had a big night in the paint as well, finishing with 14 rebounds.
Going into the fourth quarter, the score sat even at 51-51. Mount Royal jumped out to another sizeable lead quickly in the final frame, though, and held a 61-52 lead with 4:25 left. That lead was extended to 12, before Chloe Kennedy made a layup with 2:09 left to bring the Heat within 10, 62-52. That was as close as the Heat would come for the remainder, as the Cougars scored the next two baskets and went up 68-54, and that would be the score at the final buzzer.
The visiting Cougars came out strong to start the game, scoring 22 points in the opening quarter. They scored 18 in the second, to take a 40-32 lead into half-time. Through the first two quarters, Erin Kehrig had already scored all of her 12 points, and the Heat had been kept to only one made three-pointer, courtesy of Olivia Johnson, in 12 team attempts.
The Heat started the second half at a better pace, outscoring the Cougars 11-5 in the first five minutes of the third quarter to pull within two. A pair of Emily Kanester free throws tied the game up, 45-45, with 4:15 left in the quarter. The rest of the quarter saw the teams essentially traded points, with a pair of lead changes in the last three minutes. A late layup from Marina Kehrig gave the Cougars a lead with 21 seconds left in the frame, but a Shenelle Tamminen made a pair of free throws with two seconds left to tie it up before the buzzer.
The Heat (0-5) and the Cougars (2-1) will play again Saturday night, with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. PST in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.