Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY, AB – The Mount Royal University Cougars and UBC Okanagan Heat tipped-off the second game of their weekend series Saturday afternoon at Kenyon Court. On Friday, the Cougars came away with their first win of the season, a 73-62 victory. MRU followed up their Friday performance with a 78-76 win, securing the series sweep.
Every single Cougars' player that hit the floor scored in the matchup. Michelle Tiffany led the way with 14 points, and Charity Marlatt added 12 points, all of which came in the second half. Marlatt also came down with nine rebounds, making her presence known inside. Maria Blanco was the final double-digit scorer for the Cougars, coming away with 11 points, including a big layup in the final minute.
The Heat were led by Jordan Korol who finished with her second double-double of the weekend. She ended up with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Vanessa Botteselle also tallied a double-double finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Botteselle and Claire Feasby were huge for the Heat down the stretch. Feasby scored 13 points in the second half and 17 in total.
The game started out at a blazing speed as the action went up and down the floor. The Heat came out with a ton of energy, as they tried to take the game to the Cougars.
The two teams found success scoring from different areas of the court. The Cougars hot outside shooting helped them get the rest of their offense going, hitting four of their six three-point attempts in the first 10 minutes. The Heat found their way to the free-throw line early and often, converting all their opportunities at the line in the quarter.
The second quarter saw the fast-paced action continue. Neither team was able to take a lead bigger than four and the lead changed hands multiple times throughout the quarter.
After a last-second three from Jordan Blaskin, the Cougars took a 36-35 lead into halftime. In the first half Tiffany led the way for MRU through the first 20 minutes. She had 10 points and gave the team a steady hand on both ends. Sydney Tabin contributed to the Cougars' efforts on the glass. She grabbed 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
The Heat turned to Korol early. She had secured her double-double in the first half, tallying 13 points and 10 rebounds. Botteselle also made her impact felt in the first half, scoring eight points, coming away with seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
In a high scoring quarter out of halftime, both teams found success on the offensive end. The Cougars shot 52% from the field and the Heat converted 44% of their shots while adding 10 made free-throws in the third.
The Cougars were able to get some breathing room when Charity Marlatt scored six points in a row. She was able to find her way inside and convert. She ended up scoring 10 points in total throughout the third.
Despite the MRU run, the Heat responded by cutting their deficit to two heading into the final quarter.
The pace of the game continued into the fourth as the two teams battled right down to the wire. The Heat tied the game with three minutes left after a deep three-point shot from Feasby, setting the stage for the stretch run of the game.
The Cougars were able to respond by scoring five straight points, taking the lead heading into the final minute.
The Heat scored the next four points of the game after Botteselle made a jump shot with 13 seconds remaining. In an exciting last few seconds, the Cougars were able to make one of two final free-throws, giving the Heat a shot at the buzzer for the win that ended up falling just short, leaving MRU with the two-point victory.
Both teams will be back in action next weekend. The Cougars will welcome the MacEwan Griffins to town for a two-game series, while the Heat will be back on the road, as they head to Kamloops to take on the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. All games can be streamed live on canadawest.tv.