Heat rack up second-chance points, free throws and threes to beat Griffins 80-55

Toki Tsuzuki looks for an opening against the UBCO Heat on Friday (Krista Carlson photo).
Toki Tsuzuki looks for an opening against the UBCO Heat on Friday (Krista Carlson photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

KELOWNA, B.C. – Griffins women's basketball head coach Katherine Adams could have easily stolen Dennis Green's famous line: 'They are who we thought they were.'

Her team had the scouting report on the UBC Okanagan Heat as perhaps the premier offensive rebounding team in Canada West.

As prepared as they were for it, the Heat still outscored them 33-14 on second-chance points, the defining difference in an 80-55 victory over the Griffins on Friday night.

"If you look at the numbers, I think the story of the game for them was offensive rebounding and free throws," said Adams. "They shot the ball quite well from the three-point line, as well, which was certainly a dagger for us at points."

With the result, the Griffins fall to 1-16, while the Heat improve to 8-9.

MacEwan had a great start to the game as they were within three after the first quarter when Sarah Burnell hit a beautiful buzzer beater off the glass from just inside the three-point line.

"I actually thought we played a pretty solid first half," said Adams, whose team trailed just 37-30 after 20. "A lapse in the third quarter widened that margin and it just became too much for us to claw our way back from. 

"But I thought we attacked pretty well. We found some different ways to score, it was just the defensive end that let us down a bit."

Burnell scored 11 of her 13 points in the first quarter, adding seven rebounds, while Noelle Kilbreath led the Griffins with 19 points, seven boards, five assists and three steals.

"Noelle led us in scoring again and actually had a pretty well-rounded game," said Adams. "It was a pretty impressive output for her. 

"Sarah really did a good job for us today, particularly early she was a spark for us scoring and rebounding, as well."

UBCO saw three players top 20 points as Sofia Ainsa Lluch hit 26, while both Jaeli Ibbetson (21 points, 14 rebounds) and Kelsey Falk (21 points, 11 boards) had double doubles.

"This team's strength is offensive rebounding," said Adams. "They crash the glass hard. I think they get a lot out of being assertive and aggressive and getting to the rim and getting second-chance opportunities for their team. They did that today. It wasn't anything we didn't expect. 

"We just have to be a little bit better at limiting those opportunities that they get and hopefully rebounding the ball a little bit better tomorrow."

The teams will meet again on Saturday (5 p.m. MT, Canada West TV).