Rich Abney, UNBC
January 6, 2017 -
Coming off a 39-point victory on Friday, the UNBC Timberwolves expected a tougher, hungier UBCO Heat squad in the rematch. That's exactly what they got, as the TWolves held on to edge the visitors 87-75, Saturday night at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
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.
"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."
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 native of Las Palmas, Spain would finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists.
"I love difficult games. I absolutely love it. I enjoy that energy and nervousness,"
Vasiliki Louka added 20 points and 16 rebounds, while Madison Landry chipped in with 19 points.
The Heat were scoring-by-committee, led by Shenelle Tamminen with 14 points and eight boards. Vanessa Botteselle and Emma Jonas had 13 points, while Emma Johnson added 11.
With the win, the TWolves improve to 6-8, while the Heat fall to 0-12.
"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."
The Timberwolves improve thir playoff aspirations, and now prepare for a road series at Brandon next weekend.
"We were less focused, but we pushed ourselves and were able to come away with a win," said Mongomo. "For us, every game is important."