The UBC Okanagan Heat pushed the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves to the final buzzer, with the TWolves holding on for a 72-70 win on Saturday in Kelowna.
Maria Mongomo picked up where she left off on Friday night, scoring five points in the first minute of the second quarter. However, unlike a night previous when the Timberwolves used a massive quarter to pull away from UBCO, this one was a far more competitive contest.
Jaeli Ibbetson did well to chip in in the paint, while Mira Witt came off the bench to make a pair of jumpers. Late in the quarter, UNBC got a trey and layup on consecutive possessions from Madison Landry to re-establish the margin. At halftime, the Timberwolves held a 44-29 lead, fueled by Mongomo’s 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The Heat must have been inspired by coach Bobby Mitchell’s message at half, as they came out firing in the third quarter. The play increased in physicality, which seemed to suit UBCO perfectly as Jordan Korol and Jaeli Ibbetson each got their preferred spots and made good on their looks.
“The physicality was overwhelming at times, but I think our team made adjustments and we had to answer to their physicality and aggression,” said UNBC’s Landry. “I think their physicality and rebounding were key in closing the gap from last night.”
“UBCO had a lot of energy and fire tonight. You could tell they wanted to win really badly, and they fought till the end,” said Landry, postgame. “Teams shouldn’t take them lightly. They have great players.”
Ibbetson continued her tremendous freshman campaign with 23 points and nine rebounds, to go along with five assists. Korol added a 15 point, 10 rebound double double, while Kelsey Falk was a monster on the glass with 16 rebounds.
“This weekend we were so unified. It felt effortless and fun playing. We used everyone’s strengths and everyone stepped up to play,” said Landry. “Next weekend, I hope our newer players bring the confidence they developed and carry that into the rest of the season. We had five career highs for scoring from Rebecca, Ana, Emma, Lucy, and Maria so I think everyone can bring a new level of confidence.”