Maddison Penn's 37 points lead 'Birds to a perfect finish in 2016

Maddison Penn's 37 points lead 'Birds to a perfect finish in 2016

Aneesa Heatherington/UBC Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER -- The UBC Thunderbirds remained unbeaten in the 2016-17 season after a 90-69 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat, and improved to 8-0 in U Sports women's basketball play.

Maddison Penn had a team-high 37 points for UBC, and vaulted into Thunderbird history with the fourth-most points scored in a single game.

UBCO was led by Shenelle Tamminen, who scored 12 points in just 19 minutes of floor time.

The Thunderbirds took control off the opening tip, as Penn got her 'Birds on the board with an easy two, but the Heat kept pace in a high tempo first quarter. With the T-Birds on their heels, UBCO went on a 9-4 run to start the third and were down 28-24 with 6:14 remaining in the second. With momentum on their side, the Heat took their first lead 34-32 on an Emily Kanester drive with 4:51 remaining.

After shooting the lights out the previous night, the 'Birds were 16% from three-point land in the first two quarters, while the Heat went 4 for 11 from beyond the arc – down 40-39 at the half.

Penn played just eight of the first 20 minutes and returned to action in the third with her left hand taped up. Despite the wrapping, Penn attacked with her usual tenacity and racked up seven points in her first three minutes back on the floor.

"We have to improve on our second half coming out in the third quarter, and keeping up our standard the whole game," said Penn.

Shilpa Khanna and Penn traded threes as the 'Birds jumped to a double-digit lead up 56-43.

Krysten Lindquist pulled up and banked in her sixth point of the night to put UBC up 68-55 going into the fourth.

The three started to drop for the T-Birds in the final frame, with Penn and Khanna both hitting from deep as UBC rolled to the victory heading into the winter break.

"I want to improve on a lot of things like defence and rebounding," said Penn. "Team-wise, it was pretty scrappy for us. I think the team could have performed a lot better."

Rookie Keylyn Filewich contributed a season-high 13 points and six rebounds in the win.

UBC head coach Deb Huband is pleased with her young team's development to date.

"We still have to improve our ability to read the situation and communicate quickly and with urgency. We have to be more attentive to the little details that make a big difference. Being undefeated in the first half for this young group is an outstanding accomplishment and now, after a short break, we'll get some work done over December and start thinking about 2017.

The Thunderbirds will fly south for a winter series in the California heat against the NAIA's Westmont (Calif.) Warriors on December 29 and 30, before returning to league action on January 6.

IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds