By: In-Ting Ho
TORONTO, ON – Twenty of the best players in the province took part in the 10th annual OUA Women's Baskebtall All-Star Game, presented by Peel Regional Police, on April 29 at York University's Tait McKenzie Centre.
The two all-star coaches were Dave Wilson of the Queen's Gaels and Erin McAleenan of the host York Lions. The assistant coaches for Team Wilson were Constable Lloyd Dixon of the Peel Regional Police and Jenny Vaughan, former OUA Player of the Year and current assistant coach for the Guelph Gryphons. Team McAleenan was joined on the sidelines by York Lions alumnae Courtney Osborne and Jillian Shelley.
OUA Hall of Famer Penny Wright performed the ceremonial tip-off along with Laurier's Kaitlyn Schenck and Ryerson's Kellie Ring. A long-time referee, Wright began her officiating career over 20 years ago, accumulating a resume that includes 12 OUA finals, ten national tournaments, and four national championships. For a season, she was also the only female referee to officiate men's basketball games in the Mid-American Conference of the NCAA.
The first half was a back and forth affair between the two teams, with Team McAleenan holding a 37-33 lead at the break. Both teams continued to trade baskets to start the third quarter, but Ryerson Rams teammates Sofia Paska and Kellie Ring went on a 6-0 run and widened the Team McAleenan lead to 49-39. The lead swelled to as many as 28 points near the end of the 3rd quarter as Team McAleenan outscored Team Wilson 30-14 in the stanza.
Team Wilson clawed their way back in the fourth to narrow the lead to 83-71 on a layup by OUA and U SPORTS Player of the Year Danielle Boiago with less than two minutes to play. But Mackenzie Puklicz of the Western Mustangs sank a three pointer from the corner to put the game out of reach. Ryerson's Ring scored the game's final five points as Team McAleenan went on to win 92-77.
Linnaea Harper of the McMaster Marauders was named Player of the Game, having led all scorers at halftime and for the entire match.
Team McAleenan finished with five players in double figures – Harper had a game high 21 points, while Western's Puklicz had 18, Ryerson's Paska and Ring had 18 and 16 respectively, while Laurier's Nicole Morrison had 10 points.
McMaster's Boiago led Team Wilson with 12 points, while Laurier's Kaitlyn Schenck along with Queen's teammates Robyn Pearson and Emily Hazlett had eight points each.
BY THE NUMBERS
21 – Points scored by Linnaea Harper in her Player of the Game-winning performance
10 – Number of universities represented at the OUA Women's Basketball All-Star Game
6 – Players in double figures
3 – OUA all-rookies at the All-Star Game (Mulholland, Ylagan, Williams)