UBCO Heat women’s basketball coach Heather Semeniuk looks up to Princeton’s Julia Reichert, literally.
“She is 6-foot-3, and she has a 6-foot-7 wing span. She’s athletic and fast. That pretty much says it all,” laughed Semeniuk, of why she likes her newest recruit.
The Heat coach said the team needed size. Reichert, a Princeton Secondary School grad, is among three on the team 6-feet or taller and she leads they way by an inch. Semeniuk, in her 20th season with the Heat, sees the former Team B.C. member playing a big role. It doesn’t hurt that Reichert learns quickly and is competitive.
“When you can recruit someone with her talent and her stature, they can come in and have an immediate effect,” she said.
Along with bringing an offensive pedigree, she averaged 20 to 30 points a game, she has a good basketball IQ and is quick near the basket.
Semeniuk said Reichert, described as funny with a sense of humour, is also inquisitive. If she doesn’t know something, she asks.
Reichert, who was named the most outstanding defensive player for Princeton as a senior, is enjoying the transition to the college game.
“I’ve been playing with the same group for five years. It was a good change,” said Reichert, who helped Princeton earn a third-place result during provincials at Prince George earlier this year.
The Heat recently participated in the Freak’n Farmer held at Covert Farms in Oliver on Sept.21 and Reichert’s group finished first.
“She puts herself out there. She’s a great teammate for the girls. A great team person for me to coach,” said Semeniuk.
Reichert enjoyed the Freak’n Farmer event because she grew up outdoors. It gave her a taste of the country and she enjoyed reliving it. For some of the events, the players were put in pairs and Reichert said it was good for team building. One of the events had the players climb a rope to a certain height. Because they weren’t able to reach it, they had to do burpees.
While training had been hard, she feels good about it. A post player, Reichert wants to get stronger as the competition will be too. She made her debut with the Heat in Penticton at Pen High against UBC on Sept. 28 in front of her family. Reichert, who is on an athletic scholarship and wants to become a social worker, decided to join the Heat because she wanted to live in Kelowna, but having known Semeniuk for a few years, she also likes the coach.
“She’s a good coach, and also supportive,” said Reichert, adding that Semeniuk has an ear for whatever problems the players are in need of answers for. “I like the players on the team.”
The Heat will play their first regular season game against the Unversity of Alberta on Nov. 1.