Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan
KELOWNA, BC - The UBC Okanagan Heat women's basketball team fell by a final score of 67-55 against the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Kelowna on Saturday night.
As happens every year on the final night of the regular season, it was UBC Okanagan's Seniors Night. This year's honourees were Chloe Kennedy, Emily Kanester, Claire Elliott, and Olivia Johnson.
Despite outscoring the Cascades in the fourth quarter, it was not enough for the Heat to pull out a win to close out their season. UFV, who had locked up a playoff spot before coming to Kelowna for this weekend's matchups, were able to salvage a weekend split to close out their regular season primarily thanks to the efforts of Taylor Claggett and Sara Simovic.
Claggett finished with a game-high 20 points, and grabbed 13 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Simovic added 18 points of her own, adding two rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Kayli Sartori finished with 10 points, six assists, and five rebounds in her final Canada West regular season game.
Claire Elliott finished with a team-high 16 points for the Heat, and had six rebounds. Chloe Kennedy finished with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds, and Emily Kanester had 12 points and two rebounds.
UFV had the better shooting night statistically everywhere but from the free throw line. The Cascades finished shooting 37.3% from the field and 30.4% from three-point range, while the Heat finished with 27.8% and 20% in those same categories. The Heat had the advantage (83.3% - 76.2%) from the charity stripe.
Rebounds were even on the night, with each team pulling down 45, while UFV had a slight edge in assists (10-9). The Cascades bench was a big part of their win as well, scoring 11 points while the Heat had three from their reserves.
UFV came out swinging to start the game, jumping out to a 22-13 lead after the first quarter. UBCO were perfect from the free throw line in that opening frame, but it wasn't enough to keep the scores even.
By half-time the Cascades had extended their lead to double-digits, pulling ahead 37-27 at the break. Claggett and Simovic were already scoring in double digits through the first 20 minutes, with 14 and 10 points respectively. The UFV shooters were hitting 38.9% from the field compared to UBCO's 27.8% in the first half.
After the third quarter the Cascades had further extended their lead to 17 points, up 57-40 heading into the fourth. By the end of the third Claggett had already scored 20 points and was well on the way to a double-double with eight rebounds.
The fourth quarter pressure from the Heat defence was not enough to close the gap, and despite their full-court press the home side were down 12 when the final buzzer sounded to end their 2016/17 Canada West season.
With a final regular season record of 4-16, the UBC Okanagan women will miss the Canada West postseason. The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades will finish in seventh place in the conference standings with their record of 12-8, and will go on to play in the Canada West playoffs that kick off next weekend on February 17, 18, and 19.