WBB: ‘Birds turn down the Heat for a fifth straight win

WBB: ‘Birds turn down the Heat for a fifth straight win

Jeff Sargeant, UBC Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER — The UBC Thunderbirds (8-4) completed the weekend sweep with a convincing 87-57 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat (0-14) Saturday night at War Memorial Gym, extending their win streak to five in a row.

It was a solid, complete effort for the 'Birds Saturday as they controlled the ball well and shot upwards of 47 percent from the field while limiting the Heat to just 13 points in the final quarter.

Third-year forward Keylyn Filewich had a career high 32 points along with 10 rebounds on 13-of-19 shooting to lead the T-Birds while Maddison Penn added another 16 points. Sadie Beers led the way for the visitors with 16 points while Jordan Korol finished with the double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

"We got off to a way better start than yesterday, a lot more attention to detail on defence and overall execution, everyone was looking to contribute in many different ways," said UBC head coach Deb Huband. "We were way more focussed and it was nice to see more of what we've been attending to since we last played show up on the court today."

In sharp contrast to the T-Birds' slow start Friday night, the home squad put up 18 points in the opening frame with a balanced attack led by Penn's eight points on 4-for-7 shooting as UBC held a five point advantage heading to the second.

The 'Birds went on a 10-3 run to start the second frame that saw some strong defensive rebounding at both ends of the court on a fast pace start. Filewich was strong on the ball on both sides of the court while putting up 10 points in the quarter to lead all players with 18 at the half along with eight total rebounds. Hailey Counsell was solid from beyond the arc for UBC in the second quarter draining three of four attempts.

The Heat closed out the half on a high with a buzzer beating three by Vanessa Botteselle, but the T-Birds held a 15-point advantage, 41-26 at the break.

UBCO came out inspired to start the second half going on an 8-2 run which included a long range three by Claire Feasby, closing the gap to nine points. But the 'Birds bounced right back going on a 9-2 run of their own to take an 18 point lead.

Filewich just kept rolling in the third quarter with another 10 points, including a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, to enter the final frame with a whopping 28 points, 14 more than any other player to that point in the game.

"She's got the ability to be a real impact player," said Huband of Filewich and her stellar performance Saturday. "I thought she did a really good job being consistent throughout the game, there were no lulls for her, she was dialled in and it was real nice to see."

Counsell re-entered the game late in the quarter and made an immediate impact with back-to-back buckets helping the 'Birds to a 23-point advantage at the final quarter break which came as Kate Johnson launched a half court buzzer beater that hit nothing but net, giving the War Memorial crowd even more to cheer about as UBC was well on their way to a fifth straight win.

The Heat started to slowly eat into the T-Birds' lead to start the fourth quarter, but once again UBC responded as back-to-back Jessica Hanson jump shots restored the home side's 23-point advantage. In the dying seconds, the 'Birds capped off the solid performance with a Gabrielle Laguerta three pointer to finish the game with the 30-point differential.

After six straight home games, winning five of them, the T-Birds are on the road for the next four starting with a pair of contests in Langley next Friday and Saturday against the Trinity Western Spartans. The Heat head east to Regina to face the Cougars next weekend.

PHOTO: Bob Frid/UBC Thunderbirds