The UVic Vikes women’s basketball team led for the entire game en route to picking up a 64–54 win over the visiting UBCO Heat to start their 2017-18 Canada West campaign in the win column.
“You are going to see a different team from us as the year goes on,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “We are still trying to figure each other out. UBCO played physical and tough and we struggled defensively after the first quarter, we gave up too much easy stuff. But overall we are a really new group and we are starting to see some good things from some different people.”
While UBCO never led in the game, they also never trailed by more than 15 points in the contest as the team from Kelowna battled hard to get back into the match whenever it looked like the Vikes may pull away.
“We did that (battled back) better towards the end of the night but at the start of the game we gave up too many offensive rebounds and turned the ball over,” said Heat head coach Claire Meadows. “That got us into a deficit and it’s hard to overcome that.”
Fourth-year Vike Kristy Gallagher led the team in scoring with 20 points in the match, nine of which came in the fourth quarter with the Heat threatening to trim the deficit.
Katie Langdon chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds as the third-year player stepped up to fill the shoes of some recently graduated Vikes.
“She was a force,” said Sinclair. “On the offensive end she was always looking for the ball and I think she set the tone at the start of the game on the glass.”
Shenelle Tamminen led the way for the Heat with 12 points in her 26 minutes on the court.
Kate Johnson got her U SPORTS career off to a flashy start with ten points in the contest on five-for-seven shooting.
“She is one of the fastest players that I have seen in a while,” said Meadows of her rookie guard. “She brings a great spark for us both offensively and defensively.”
Emma Jonas chipped in with eight points for the Heat.
Both teams went to the bench early and often in the contest as they try to figure out the lineup that will lead their team to success throughout the season.
“We have to be able to find rhythm, we can’t take that away from our players so we still have to find out what that rotation looks like,” said Sinclair. “It’s nice to be able to look down the bench and be able to go to any of the 12 players there. We are going to take our lumps in some ways but I think that’s positive big picture because there is no better way to learn than in a game that matters.”
A big first quarter lead was all the Vikes needed in the contest.
Ending the first frame up 17-7, the teams would trade baskets throughout much of the rest of the game, with the resilient Heat having the answer whenever the deficit began to climb too high.
The Heat will get their chance for revenge tomorrow night when these same two teams do battle on the Ken and Kathy Shields Court inside the CARSA Performance Gym at 5 p.m.
“We only gave up seven points in the first quarter and I thought we set the tone defensively and then we sort of relaxed,” said Sinclair when asked what she wants her team to do better in tomorrow night’s game. “We gave up some easy stuff so I think we need to be much, much better on the defensive end.”
For Meadows the improvement for her team needs to come in the basics of the game.
“Take care of the ball and box out.”
The game tomorrow night can be watched live on Canadawest.tv
UVIC: 17-14-15-18: 64
UBCO: 7-16-14-17: 54