Maria Mongomo needed nine points to become the UNBC Timberwolves’ all-time leading scorer.
The native of Las Palmas, Spain got that, and more, scoring 35 points to lead the UNBC Timberwolves to a 104-54 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat in Kelowna.
The Heat came out the more aggressive team, jumping out to an early 10-3 lead in the opening five minutes. Coach Sergey Shchepotkin put his team into a zone defense, which created a string of Heat turnovers leading to T-wolves opportunities. Mongomo made a pair of three-pointers, while freshman reserve Rebecca Landry made layups on back-to-back possessions to make it a game early on. After 10 minutes, UNBC held a 19-18 advantage.
Things were even early in the second quarter, as the Heat got to the paint and earned second-chance points from the hands of Jordan Korol and Jaeli Ibbetson, while Emma vanBruinessen found herself open for good looks at the other end, showing her range with some converted jumpers for UNBC.
History was made late in the half when Mongomo took a pass and buried a three-pointer to score the 1499th point of her career. That eclipsed her longtime teammate Vasiliki Louka for most in UNBC history. At the end of a 27-10 quarter, the T-wolves led 46-28.
“We had a slow start and had to make adjustments early on to our regular game plays. This was fueled by other players stepping up and everyone buying into the team goal,” said T-wolves point guard Emily Holmes. “We needed patience on offence, looking for the best quality look. We did that and we were successful.”
The T-wolvescontinued to push the pace in the third frame, attacking the Heat with a well-balanced attack. The Heat got some timely shooting from Alessia Brutto and Kelsey Falk, but UNBC was able to answer nearly every time. Mongomo continued to assert herself, making a pair of late treys, while reserves Lucy Guan and Anastasia Soltes ran the offense to Shchepotkin’s liking.UNBC led 79-42 after three quarters.
The depth of the T-wolves was the story as this matchup completed in the fourth quarter. Rebecca Landry, who came in averaging 2.9 points per game on the season, scored a career high 17 points, while vanBruinessen shot 7-for-9 for 17 points, to go along with eight rebounds.
“Our bench is short due to unfortunate injuries. It has forced some of our younger players to step up, play big minutes, and have a positive impact,” said Holmes. “They all played fearlessly tonight, and it created a trust on the court and belief that everyone was capable of being the scorer on the next play.”
Mongomo also hasseven rebounds and five steals. Madison Landry added 10 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, while freshman Soltes had nine points and three steals off the bench. The T-wolves shot 58.8 per cent from the field, while holding the Heat to 26.0 per cent shooting.
“Maria really stepped up for us this game and was focused on the team effort and win” said Holmes. “When we told her she broke the record she didn’t know and cared more about our team win and effort everyone put forward.
“I’ve been her teammate for five years and she is a talented basketball player. I’m proud and thankful I’ve been a part of her career and see her achieve such milestones.”
UBCO was paced by Ibbetson, who had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists. Falk added seven points and 10 boards.