UBCO Heat women's basketball opens season with record win

basketball_women-11 (wings)

With impressive performances from veterans and rookies alike, the UBC Okanagan Heat women's basketball team rolled to a 41-point victory, 89-48, against the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen in their home opener Friday night at the UBCO Gymnasium.

The decisive win marked a new record for the Heat; the largest margin of victory in program history.

Bobby Mitchell, UBCO Head Coach, spoke on his team's impressive start to the year. "Tonight we wanted to create an up-tempo game largely from our defence and really push pace. We used our depth to allow us to continue to play fast and keep the pressure on. Offensively, we moved the ball well and had players pass up good shots for great shots which was nice to see."

UBCO got noteworthy performances across the board in their home opener. Fourth-year standouts Kelsey Falk (Vernon, B.C.) and Jaeli Ibbetson (Kelowna, B.C.) each recorded double-doubles, while Sofia Ainsa Lluch, from Mahon, Spain, dropped a game-high 16 points. Ainsa Lluch came out firing in the second half, knocking down four treys as she looks to build on a impressive 2022-23 season.

The Heat's 11 made threes is their most in a game since 2014 and was aided by Orangeville, Ont.'s Lauren Foullong, who made three of her own en route to 13 points off the bench.

Winnipeg was held to 16 points in the first half as UBCO put up a strong defensive stand in the game's opening 20 minutes. Making her debut for the blue and gold, Lake Country, B.C., product Tennyson McCarthy would record three blocks in the second quarter alone. The 6-2 forward'ss four total blocks set a Heat record for most by a rookie, in a single game, in school history.

The Heat's 89 points are the third most they have scored in a Canada West game as they shot 42.5 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from three.

Also making their debuts for UBCO were Vancouver, B.C.'s Stefanie Hart and Kamloops, B.C.'s Temi Aina.

Carmen Hiebert, from Lorette, Man., led the Wesmen with 10 points off 3-of-6 shooting from the field.

Kelsey Falk - UBCO Heat
The guard went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, scoring 14 points and adding 11 rebounds. Last year's team MVP, Falk sits second all-time in UBCO rebounds and sixth in all-time scoring.

Jaeli Ibbetson - UBCO Heat
The double-double machine added to her resume with a 16-point, 12-rebound performance. Ibbetson is one of only three Heat athletes to average more than 10 points and 10 rebounds over the course of a season.

The win, UBCO's first of the season, sees them start the year at 1-0. The Heat tied a team record with 10 wins last season and will look to top that mark this season.

Meanwhile, the Wesmen start their 2023-24 campaign at 0-1.