Griffins get redemption against Heat with 60-55 win that keeps playoff hopes alive

Mady Chamberlin waits for the ball to be inbounded during Saturday's match against UBCO (Cary Mellon photo).
Mady Chamberlin waits for the ball to be inbounded during Saturday's match against UBCO (Cary Mellon photo).

MacEwan Athletics and UBCO Athletics

KELOWNA, B.C. – Spring-boarding off of a 20-9 advantage in the second quarter, the MacEwan Griffins netted a 60-55 win over the UBC-Okanagan Heat on Saturday night.

The win gives the Griffins women's basketball team a measure of redemption after becoming the first team to lose to the Heat in 707 days on Friday.

It also keeps them alive for a playoff spot. At 5-11, they sit a game back of 6-10 Winnipeg and Manitoba for the final two post-season spots with four games left in the regular season.

"I think it's some valuable learning for us to be ready to come out and compete and not take any moment for granted," Griffins head coach Katherine Adams said of the weekend split with 1-17 UBCO.

"UBCO pushed us today and challenged us," she added. "They hit shots when we really needed to get stops. Just learning to find a way to dig in and … ultimately find a way to get it done, hopefully it's something we can walk away with – having a better understanding of those moments and how to perform in them."

Kayla Ivicak narrowly missed her seventh double double of the season with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Hannah Gibb poured in 14 points on 4-for-10 three-point shooting.

"We know Hannah can shoot the ball," said Adams. "Hannah is one of our hardest workers and spends a lot of time working on her craft. It's a really nice reward for her to see that work pay off in a game situation.

"She hit some really timely threes for us again today and I thought her teammates did a great job of finding her and creating opportunities for her to knock those down tonight."

Ball movement was key to the Griffins going 37.7 per cent from the field and 32.0 per cent from behind the arc. Led by Mady Chamberlin's four assists, MacEwan had 16 helpers, their second-best ball-sharing effort of the season. Chamberlin also had a game-high four steals.

"It was a really great team effort today," said Adams. "I thought we shot the ball better because we created better opportunities for our teammates – just ball movement, getting the ball inside and finding openings from there.

"It was really good to see. We had a number of people step up and make contributions, not just on the scoreboard. That certainly helps take some pressure off and opens things up for everyone when you have a lot of people contributing."

The Griffins also only turned the ball over 16 times, which represents a big improvement over their Canada West-worst 24.0 a game.

For UBCO, it was another big night for Jordan Korol, as the forward had 15 points and 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double against the Griffins. Vanessa Botteselle had another nice game for the home team with 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

"We struggled in the second quarter and it really put us behind for the rest of the game and against good teams you can't give yourself that much of a deficit," said UBCO head coach Bobby Mitchell. "So, that hurt us, but I like the response in the second half."

The Griffins now return home to host Brandon (2-14) on Jan. 25-26, while UBCO will close out its regular season on the same dates against Victoria (8-8).