February 14, 2018
Waterloo 51 Guelph 71
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons basketball team is gearing up for OUA playoff basketball. Guelph knows the team it will face. The only question is where they will play. The Gryphons took a step towards that answer with a solid 71-51 victory over the Waterloo Warriors at the GGAC Wednesday night.
The win was Guelph's fifth in a row and improves the season record to 13-10, which is identical to Western's, the team the Gryphons will meet in the playoffs. They will also go at it this Saturday in Guelph, with the winner going on to host in the OUA West opening round game.
But the more immediate concern for the streaking Gryphons was to take care of business against the Warriors – and they did just that. Guelph pressured Waterloo relentlesslyand were aggressive when they had ball, utilizing long outlet passes to get behind the visitors' defence.
Head coach Mark Walton has encouraged the young Gryphons to dictate on defence rather than react.
"That aggressive mindset then carries over to the offensive end," said Walton. "If you don't like it, get out of the way."
Senior guard Haley Belyk had 12 points, all of them coming in the critical first half when she hit 3 of 5 from long range, and added 3 of her game-high 5 steals. Sarah Holmes had 7 points and led all players with 8 rebounds, while Burke Bechard had 6 points, 6 rebounds and a game-high 4 assists. All 12 Gryphons found the scoresheet and the team was poised at the free throw line, knocking down 15 of 20 attempts.
The Gryphons held a big 62-41 lead the end of three quarters, though Waterloo showed some desperation and trimmed the deficit in the fourth. Julia Pavlik hit a three-pointer to make it 66-51 with 6:34 remaining, forcing Guelph to call a timeout. The Warriors would go cold from there and the Gryphons closed it out.
Both teams struggled to maintain any offensive rhythm early on but Guelph, which led 18-16 after the opening quarter, eventually found another gear. With about four minutes left in the second quarter, the Gryphons pulled away from Waterloo starting with a Quincy Sickles-Jarvis jumper that spurred a 14-2 run and sent the hosts into half time up comfortably at 40-23.
"It's always huge when we can make those kind of runs," said Walton. "It can dictate the result of the game early and that was big for us tonight, which allowed the bench to contribute. That's what it takes."
Guelph held the Warriors without a point for the final 7:33 of the quarter, forcing 13 first-half turnovers, while out rebounding Waterloo 21-11 (40-23 overall).
Walton was happy with the outcome and pleased that his team has continued to buy in. He was honoured by the words of the legendary Waterloo men's coach Don McCrae, who was in attendance Wednesday. Coach McCrae told Walton after the game that he loved the way the Gryphons were playing, intense and without fear.
"It's very gratifying for everybody," Walton said of the growth his team has shown since the season began. "It's all about the process. We've been talking about this all season and we want to maintain it."
The focus know shifts to the single game with Western, with home court on the line.
"There's incentive to not go back to Western." the coach said. "I also think we're a little stingier at home."
Brock 45 Western 71
LONDON, Ont. - Fifth-year guard Mackenzie Puklicz put up a game-high 24 points in her final regular season home game dawning the purple and white to help lead the team to a 71-45 victory over the Brock Badgers on Wednesday evening in Alumni Hall.
With the win, the Mustangs improve to a 13-10 record on the regular season with only one game remaining on the schedule before the postseason, further separating themselves from Guelph to maintain fourth place in the OUA West division. The Badgers' loss will drop them to a 6-17 record on the regular season as they remain in seventh place in the OUA West division standings.
The matchup against the Badgers wasn't only significant in terms of playoff seeding, but marked the Mustangs' Senior Night, as they celebrated the careers of Puklicz, Victoria Heine, and Alex Van Heeswyk, and their rich contributions to the Western basketball program.
"Victoria, Mackenzie, and Alex have given their heart and soul to the program," said head coach Brian Cheng on his graduating players. It's not easy playing basketball at the university level while going to school so credit has to go to them - they're special individuals. They helped improve the culture of our team and the results that we've achieved so far with them will hopefully carry us into the future."
"It's meant everything to play for this program. My experience here has been nothing but incredible and I've enjoyed all five seasons here, especially playing next to a teammate like Mackenzie," said Heine, looking back on her career with the purple and white.
Puklicz did it all for the Mustangs to the cheers of the Western faithful, as she chipped in nine rebounds, two assists, and four steals in the victory before going down late in the fourth with an injury.
"Since grade five I knew I wanted to be a Mustang. I'm from London so it means a lot to watch that dream come true in my hometown," said Puklicz on what it's meant to represent the purple and white. "When I see our young players grow and develop, I feel like I've done my job. The job of a veteran is to put them under your wing and bring them along the way. I feel like Victoria and I have done that."
Maddy Horst also had herself a night, leading the team in the second half and putting up 19 points in the game to go along with three assists.
Puklicz was the first Mustang to get on the scoreboard for the purple and white, as Western came out of the gate on a strong 14-0 run.
Despite the balanced scoring from the Mustangs, it was the defence which led the way through the opening quarter, forcing the Badgers into a slew of contesting jump shots and not allowing a basket until late in the quarter. The Western offence continued to click on all cylinders, led by 10 early points by Puklicz as Western went into the second quarter with a 24-5 lead.
The Badgers' offence began to find their footing early in the frame, but consistent ball movement and accurate shooting from beyond the arc would allow Western to maintain a double-digit lead. The Badgers would spark a short run midway through the quarter, trimming down the Mustangs lead bit by bit, but strong offensive consistency from Horst would keep Western afloat as they went into halftime with a 39-27 lead.
The Mustangs continued to move the ball with purpose to start the third quarter while regaining their composure on the defensive side of the ball, creating turnovers and running the fast break.
Western held Brock scoreless for the majority of the quarter while Horst and Puklicz thrived in the high-pace offence, scoring at will for the purple and white as they extended their lead to 61-35 heading into the fourth. The fourth quarter was much of the same for Western, as they dominated on the defensive end for the remainder of the game and cruised to a 71-45 victory.
"You always want to build good habits heading into the playoffs and I think we did that - we grew as a team tonight. It's important that we keep and fortifying ourselves as a unit as we ready ourselves for the playoffs," said Brian Cheng on his team looking forward to the postseason.
February 16, 2018
York 45 Carleton 54
OTTAWA, ON – It came down to the wire, but Carleton rode a furious fourth quarter rally to defeat the York Lions 54-45 and earn their 22nd victory of the season heading into Saturday’s finale against Queen’s.
Fifth-year guard Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) was an offensive and defensive catalyst for the Ravens, scoring 17 points while also grabbing four rebounds, four steals and dishing out two assists in 31 minutes of playing time.
“Scoring 100 points is not realistic. What’s really going to happen is what we saw tonight in terms of people digging down deep. There’s no secrets at the end of the year, everyone knows what teams are running,” Ravens’ head coach Taffe Charlessaid.
It’s about winning one-on-one battles and we lost a lot of those in the first three quarters on the glass and on the perimeter. It was a great game for us though because we have to grind it out. There’s lots of work left for us to do.”
The Ravens broke out to a quick 7-4 lead following four quick points from Traer, who showed no signs of rust by nailing an open three from the wing after sitting out both games last weekend. The lead grew to 12-5 when Traer struck gain from long distance at the 3:54 mark. Haley Bowie answered for the Lions 50 seconds later by taking advantage of her sharp first step and sinking a floater to bring the score to 12-7.
Second quarter action began with the Lions commencing their comeback. Former Raven Lindsay Shotbolt hit an acrobatic layup early in the frame to bring York to within 11-13 two minutes into the frame. Bowie and Chante Clarke hit consecutive runners to pad a 15-13 lead for the Lions. Carleton countered with a 7-2 run that was capped off by two free throws by forward Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, ON). But York got the last laugh in the half by going on a 7-0 run that Cyanna King punctuated with an and one.
The Lions continued their valiant comeback by building upon the slim two-point lead that they waged at the end of the first half. Freshman guard Madison Reid (Carleton Place, ON) put Carleton ahead 25-24 with a corner three early in the third, but Bowie responded right back with a three of her own. Bowie scored the Lions’ last four points of the quarter, including seven of their 15 in the third, to support a 36-31 Lions lead entering the final quarter.
But the Ravens weren’t done. Traer hit a timely three to open the fourth. Shotbolt quickly restored York’s lead with a spinning hook shot to boost the score back to 41-34 in York’s favour. Charles called a timeout to give Carleton a moment to regroup. Traer hit yet another three out of the timeout and followed her long-range marker with a finger roll in the lane to bring Carleton to within one. Traer’s solo efforts inspired fourth-year guard Nicole Gilmore (Hamilton, ON), who bulldozed her way through the Lions’ defence for two straight layups to give the Ravens a 50-45 lead. Carleton didn’t look back the rest of the way and closed out the game 54-45.
“We learned a good lesson tonight. We had to reach down deep, and that showed in Madison Reid’s great contribution,” Charles added.
“She hasn’t played a bunch all year, but she showed how our depth can come through by doing a really good job considering Jenjen Abella (Hamilton, ON) went down injured. It’s a next person up mentality.”
Queen’s 63 Ottawa 50
OTTAWA (February 16, 2018)- The Queen's Gaels (17-5), came away with a big road win against the Ottawa Gee-Gees (14-8) on Friday night. The victory clinches the second overall spot in the OUA East for Queen's. The Gaels will now have a bye from the opening round of playoffs and host a home playoff game February 24.
Marianne Alarie (Sudbury, Ont) started out strong, knocking down a pair of jumpers for the Gaels. The Ottawa Gee-Gees would keep it close, retaliating every basket Queen's scored. The Gee-Gees managed to take a three-point lead, but Veronika Lavergne (Ottawa) kept it close sinking free-throws in her hometown.
The second quarter would be dominated by the Gaels, as they found their rhythm offensively. Three-pointers came from Alarie, Sarah Saftich (Markham, Ont), and Emma Ritcey (Orillia, Ont). Ritcey also had an excellent rebounding half, recording four off the glass. The Gaels were also strong defensively causing Ottawa to turn the ball over and picking up steals led by Abby Dixon (North Vancouver, B.C.) and Alarie. The Gaels held the lead at halftime 32-25, after a buzzer-beating jumper by Maddie Morris (Seeley's Bay, Ont.).
Alarie opened the second quarter with an impressive jump-shot while Lavergne played a strong defensive game, recording three blocks this quarter alone. Dixon was a stealthy defensive weapon for Queen's as she added another two steals to her game total and also found Andrea Priamo (Guelph, Ont) for the closing shot of the quarter. Priamo had herself a nice outing, recording a near double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.
With a comfortable lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Gaels just needed to play steady defence and prevent a Gee-Gees run. The Gaels did exactly that, with excellent rebounding, and tight defence. The Gee-Gees could not get any good looks and find a rhythm. The Gaels kept their lead all quarter long and walked away with the road win, 63-50.
Laurentian 67 Toronto 75
Fifth-year guard Rahshida Atkinson recorded her 1000th career point as the University of Toronto Varsity Blues women's basketball team defeated the Laurentian Voyageurs 75-67 on Friday night (Feb. 16) at Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
Atkinson hit the major milestone early in the second quarter. She went on to registered 14 points in the contest to help extend the Blues winning streak to five games.
Nada Radonjic drained four three pointers for a career and game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the process. Fifth-year guard Diedre Edwards filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Keyira Parkes chipped in 14 points as well.
L'Ashante Henry put up 19 points and eight rebounds for the Voyageurs in a losing effort.
U of T's record jumps to 10-12, as they have solidified sixth place in the OUA East division. With the Queen's Gaels victory over Ottawa tonight, the Blues will travel to the nation's capital to battle the Gee-Gees in the first round of the playoffs next Wednesday.
Toronto and Laurentian posted near identical stats in the first half. Both teams recorded 20 rebounds, eight assists and a trio three-pointers. The score resembled it as the Blues only trailed 35-34 heading into halftime.
Radonjic took over coming out of the locker room. The second-year forward drained 12 of her 21 points in the third quarter. She was also the catalyst of an 11-2 run to cap off the frame to hand the Blues a 56-51 lead. They were able to hold off Laurentian the rest of the way.
Waterloo 44 Windsor 79
The Windsor Lancers women's basketball team hit the court on Friday night looking to tune up for the playoffs and defend their home court against the Waterloo Warriors.
The Lancers, sitting second in their division are soundly in playoff position and looking to make sure they're playing their best basketball come playoff time. They did just that, dispatching the Warriors in a lopsided 79-44 decision.
The Lancers were led by Nyamuoch Tenyand her 16 points. The Warriors offense was led by Aphia Ward who scored nine points.
Windsor also handily won the battle on the boards. As a team, the Blue and Gold brought down 43 rebounds, led by Emily Prevost with seven, compared to Warriors who recovered just 23.
The Lancers came out of the gates a little sluggish. The Lancers struggled to separate from the Warriors on the scoreboard and it looked like the Lancers and their fans would have a long game to sit through.
Luckily the Blue and Gold got things going in the second with a 27-point quarter. While the Lancers offense was having their way in the second quarter, their defense was playing just as well, allowing a stingy nine points the entire quarter. After a rough start the Lancers went into the half with the lead, 43-24.
The Lancers came out scoring again the second half, putting in a 23-point third quarter. Teny led the Blue and Gold with 16 points as the Lancers built a strong and growing lead on the Warriors. The Lancers biggest lead was 35 with just over a minute left as they went on to win in convincing fashion, 79-44.
Laurier 58 Lakehead 60
The Lakehead women’s basketball team (15-8) won 60-58 against the Laurier Golden Hawks (10-13) in overtime tonight in the Thunderdome.
Slow start for both teams as the Hawks only led 19-18 at halftime.
Laurier pulled ahead by 9 in the third but the Wolves stayed in it, making it a two-point game going into the fourth.
Lakehead opened the fourth with an 8-0 run but the Hawks brought it within 2 with just 20 seconds left. Laurier’s Maya Day hit a long jumper with 11 seconds left to tie the game up at 49-49 and force the game into overtime.
With five extra minutes, the game continued to remain close. Up one after Golden Hawk Nicole Morrison hit a three, the Wolves were able to keep possession with 14 seconds left after a big offensive rebound by Tianna Warwick-Dawkins. Bridget O’Reilly hit one of two free throws at the end to give the Wolves the 60-58 win.
Once again, Leashja Grant led all players with 27 points, 16 rebounds and also made history moving into first place in the U SPORTS for most rebounds in a single season with 318. The previous record holder was Sarah Wierks of Fraser Valley who led with 307 in 2014-15.
Nipissing 32 Ryerson 102
TORONTO - The word monumental would be an understatement if one attempts to describe the happenings of the Ryerson Rams contest against the Nipissing Lakers on Friday night. With a final score of 102-32, the Rams dominance put this game out of reach early.
The first half of the match-up can most aptly be described as a tale of two very different quarters. Throughout the first quarter of the contest, the Rams were as offensively efficient as they have ever been, shooting above sixty-percent from the field and confounding the Nipissing defence with both their evident size dominance and quick perimeter passing.
However, apparent holes in the Rams perimeter defense allowed the Lakers to constantly remain within striking distance of Ryerson’s lead. Taking the majority of their field-goal attempts from beyond the three-point line, the Lakers were able to shoot nearly fifty-percent from deep and maintain a deficit of only nine points heading into the second quarter.
The next ten minutes of the contest however, can only be understood as the Rams coming alive on all points of the court in a manner that hasn’t been seen in a while. The Rams held Nipissing to a scoreless quarter, while trouncing them with a 23-point scoring run. Offensively, the Rams began to sacrifice selective offensive outputs for an onslaught of scoring attempts, as they hammered the Lakers from the paint and the field.
Marin Scotten (Ottawa, Ont.), led all scorers in the first half with 13 points, to go along with 7 rebounds.
The Rams followed up their dominant performance in the first half by scoring at will across the final two quarters. Throughout each passing minute of the third and fourth quarters, the Rams perpetually extended their lead, while forcing Nipissing to commit error after error.
Through their defensive domination of the Lakers, the Rams were able to prevent Nipissing from scoring for thirteen straight minutes across the two halves. For reference, in a 40 minute basketball game, the Nipissing Lakers were prevented from scoring for 32.5 percent of the entire match.
Across the last two quarters of the game, the Rams put up 49 points, compared to the Lakers 11, on route to the eventual 102-32 victory.
On the evening, several notable achievements occurred that are worth mentioning.
Marin Scotten concluded the evening with 21 points and 7 rebounds, while teammate Bronwyn Williams (Toronto, Ont.) tied her career best in rebounds with 10 on the night.
Additionally, in acquiring the victory, the Rams were just one point shy of tying the highest point total in program history. To add to this, the 70-point defeat was the largest that the Nipissing Lakers had suffered this season thus far.
Algoma 42 McMaster 76
Make it 13 straight victories for the McMaster Marauders women's basketball team, who played host to the Algoma Thunderbirds Friday night.
The Marauders took the first of the back-to-back series against the Thunderbirds with a convincing 76-42 win inside the Burridge Gym, as the Marauders get set to embark on a playoff run with their regular season schedule wrapping up this weekend.
McMaster bettered their record to 19-4 with one game remaining, keeping pace atop the OUA West standings, while the Thunderbirds were handed their 21st loss of the season and sit with a 2-21 record.
First-year guard Sarah Gates (Newmarket, ON) had her 10th double-digit performance since the Marauders streak began in January, tallying 17 points against the Thunderbirds on four of 11 shooting, including 43 per cent from three-point land.
Olivia Wilson (Lion's Head, ON) worked the paint for the Marauders, scoring 16 points on the night, and going six of 14 from the field.
Karly Fracalanza (Sarnia, ON) led the Thunderbirds in points for the night. She finished the game with 13 points and was 50 per cent (three of six) from beyond the arc.
Despite the disparity in their records, the Marauders were sure to not take the Thunderbirds lightly.
The home side started strongly, putting the visitors on the back foot almost immediately and stretching out a 21-point lead at halftime, as McMaster led 43-22 as the teams hit the break.
The Marauders capitalized off of turnovers in the opening half, scoring 22 points off of turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. McMaster went on to further add to that stat by finishing the game with 33 points off of turnovers.
Both teams struggled to reignite their offences to begin the second half, as there were just seven total points scored in the first five minutes following halftime.
That changed following a Gates three-pointer as the teams entered the back half of the quarter, and Hilary Hanaka (Hamilton, ON) added a layup off of a turnover immediately following.
McMaster worked the paint in the final quarter, drawing fouls and working their way to the foul line to help seal their victory over Algoma.
February 17, 2018
Western 76 Guelph 85
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons women's basketball team is beginning to understand what it's like to play in meaningful games. And the young Gryphons are evidently prepared to embrace the big stage. With home court in the playoffs on the line, Guelph rode a 55-point explosion in the second half to defeat the Western Mustangs 85-76 in front a big Saturday afternoon crowd at the GGAC.
"These guys really wanted this game," said head coach Mark Walton.
Third-year guard Sarah Holmes had a career-high 25 points, while rookie point guard Skyla Minaker equaled her career-best with 22 points, adding 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
The game was a preview of this coming Wednesday's OUA opening round postseason game -- and the desperation was evident. The Gryphons and Mustangs entered the day with identical 13-10 records, meaning the winner would host next week. It didn't seem to phase Guelph, a team that has developed an intense identity over the course of the season.
"It's our defence," said Holmes, who returned to the lineup last month after an extended absence with illness to spark the team. "We want to drive our opponents crazy, pressuring them, pressing them. It's the culture we've been pushing."
The Gryphons came up with arguably their best second-half performance of the season when they needed it most. Holmes buried one her 4 three-pointers at the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter and was later fouled while making a left-handed shot inside. She sunk the free throw, putting Guelph up 72-64. Julia Kokonis scored inside to push the lead to double digits and the Gryphons closed like a team with lots of experience.
When the game ended, the crowd rose to its feet in applause, including the Gryphons' men's team, which was ready to take the court for Senior Day.
Both Guelph and Western came out of halftime firing, with the Gryphons getting some momentum on a Holmes three-pointer and a Minaker field goal. The rookie then took the game over, scoring 15 of 19 Guelph points in one incredible stretch. Minaker swished a three from the right corner to give Guelph a 53-52 lead and nailed another from the right wing to put them up 58-54. She then stole the ball at half court and set up Ashley Wheeler for a bucket and foul. Wheeler missed the free throw but got the ball back and scored, giving the Gryphons a 62-56 lead after three quarters despite trailing 37-30 at halftime.
Minaker had been battling shin splints and was unsure if she would play.
"Skyla plays with such poise and control," Holmes said of her first-year teammate. "You don't see that very often from a rookie. She's stepped into every role that's been asked of her."
Western guard Mackenzie Puklicz gave the Gryphons headaches early, scoring 20 in the first half on 7 of 14 shooting (3 of 6 from long range), though she finished with 22.
The Mustangs got off to a quick 5-0 lead but Guelph settled in and began to push offensively and ramp up the defensive pressure. Holmes showed some nice touch to bank one in from in close for Guelph's first lead of the game at 12-10 and Guelph forced two shot clock violations in a short span. Western remained poised, thanks in part to the red-hot shooting of Puklicz, and ended the first quarter up 26-19.
It became harder to find offence in a closely-contested second quarter as each team managed to put up 11 points, with Western leading 37-30.
Walton thought his players were nervous early, especially after Western's hot start.
"We kept preaching, keep on them, keep wearing them down and eventually, their legs won't be there," said Walton. "By the end of the game, they had players that didn't want the ball anymore."
Walton singled out Nyasha Mombeshora, who came in and played incredible defence in limited minutes.
"Someone will step up off the bench and be that sparkplug for us," the coach said, praising Mombeshora's effort.
"It's so nice to see them all step in and play quality minutes."
Walton talked about the team's growth and referenced how they were ranked 46th of 47 teams in the preseason last year. Now, they will host the first playoff game on home court in years.
"We're starting to be contenders and need to be dealt with," he said.
Brock 50 Windsor 68
The Windsor Lancers women's basketball team took the court for the last regular season game and defeated the Brock Badgers 68-50 Saturday afternoon at the St. Denis Centre.
Following the game, the Blue & Gold honoured graduating captain Emily Prevost and her decorated Lancer career.
Emily Prevost capped off her illustrious Lancers career with a double-double pairing her game leading 25 points with 18 boards. Prevost scored 1,176 points in a Lancer uniform and recorded 809 rebounds in her time as Lancer, making her the leading rebounder in Windsor Lancers history.
The Badgers were led in points by Stephanie Findlay who scored 13 points for the Badgers.
The Lancers obliterated the Badgers on the boards as they brought down more than twice as many rebounds than their opponents. While the Lancers brought down 43, the Badgers only managed 23.
The first quarter was low scoring affair as the Lancers struggled to shoot the ball. Normal offensive stalwarts such as Nyamuoch Teny and Eve Uwayesu were struggling to produce on the offense. Thankfully the Lancer defense was not struggling as they held the Brock Badgers to just six points in the first quarter.
In the second quarter the offense did not fare much better as, scoring 16 points after putting up just 15 in the first quarter. Despite the offensive issues, the Lancers were able to play their way to a 31-17 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the Badgers closed the gap on the Lancers with an early quarter run that brought the Badgers to within five points. Fortunately for Windsor, their offense found a bit of a groove shortly after and answered the run by jetting back out to a 10-point lead as the third quarter came to a close.
In the fourth quarter the Lancers stayed hot as they slowly expanded their 10-point lead to a 20-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Lancers stayed ahead and ultimately won behind Emily Prevost's 25 points, 68-50.
Nipissing 32 Toronto 61
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues women's basketball team defeated the Nipissing Lakers 61-32 in their final regular season game on Saturday night (Feb. 17) at Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
Toronto honoured fifth-year graduating players Rahshida Atkinson, Diedre Edwards and Emily Piccini in a special post-game ceremony. Before that, they were all placed in the starting lineup.
Atkinson recorded 13 points and five rebounds, Edwards filled the stat sheet with five points, two assists, two rebounds and three steals, while Piccini registered nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals in the victory.
Keyira Parkes hit a game-high 20 points, six rebounds and four steals on the night.
The Blues capped of the season on a six-game winning streak to finish with an 11-12 record. The last time the program went on this type of streak was back in 2011, the last time they qualified for the national championship.
U of T turned defence into offence in the first half. The women forced 17 turnovers and recorded 17 points off of them compared to Nipissing's two. That 15 point difference helped the Blues take a 31-17 lead into half time.
The Blue and White didn't look back from there as they held the Lakers to just 15 points the rest of the way.
Toronto travels to the nation's capital to dual the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday. The last time the two teams battled in late January, the Blues came from behind to win thanks to a 25-9 fourth quarter outburst. That victory kick started the six-game winning streak they're currently on.
York 55 Ottawa 65
The Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s basketball team withstood a strong push from the York Lions in the fourth quarter to finish the regular season with a 65-55 victory at Montpetit Hall. The win boosts Ottawa’s final record to 15-8, and the Garnet and Grey head into the postseason as the third-place team in the OUA East.
Ottawa will host the first round of the OUA Critelli Cup playoffs on Wednesday, February 21. The Toronto Varsity Blues, as the sixth-place finisher in the OUA East, will travel to Montpetit Hall for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
After Ottawa’s point guard Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus opened the fourth quarter with a bucket to stretch the Ottawa lead to eight, York roared back with seven straight points. The Gee-Gees defence forced a shot clock violation and Amélie Hachey cashed a long two to stop the run.
First year guard Maia Timmons calmly stepped into a wide-open trey to put Ottawa up 57-51 with four and a half minutes remaining. The trey was followed up by another defensive stop. McAlear-Fanus then fed Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu perfectly for a transition lay-up to re-establish a ten-point lead.
“We have to win as a team and today we got a lot more balanced production,” said Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks emphatically. “We made a run with our second unit and I thought defensively there were times where we were really good. Isabelle Dion did a great job on Lindsay Shotbolt.”
A pair of steals with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter allowed Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus to run the floor and dish to Timmons and Lefebvre-Okankwu for transition lay-ins from the right side – Lefebvre-Okankwu converted the and-one on hers to make the score 15-9.
After York briefly held a 20-19 lead, Lefebvre-Okankwu had a couple of key buckets to buoy the Gee-Gees in the second quarter as well, contributing eight points total in the first half. The Gee-Gees lineup of Angela Ribarich, Amélie Hachey, Lefebvre-Okankwu, McAlear-Fanus, and Timmons had a good stretch to take Ottawa into the locker room with a 36-28 lead.
Ottawa fed Ribarich for a pretty inside bucket to open the second half, and an Amelie Hachey three-pointer helped grow the lead to double-digits midway through the third quarter. York used its speed and slashing cuts to pull back within four at 46-42, setting up the fourth quarter comeback attempt.
Lefebvre-Okankwu led all scorers with 16 points, followed by Ribarich’s 14. The Gee-Gees celebrated the careers of the senior players of 2017-18: Isabelle Dion, Akpene Kwamie, and Kellie Forand, as part of the night.
Laurier 59 Lakehead 62
The Lakehead women’s basketball team (16-8) won their last regular season home game, 62-59, over the Laurier Golden Hawks (10-14) tonight in the Thunderdome.
Laurier picked up an early 7-point lead in the first but the Thunderwolves quickly adjusted to take back the lead at the end of the quarter (12-11). Lakehead continued on to gain a three-point lead going into the half (23-20).
The second half was a constant back and forth battle right until the end with both teams each scoring 39 points. Laurier made an attempt to take the lead but ultimately ran out of time and the Thunderwolves were able to pull off the weekend sweep and win 62-59.
“Nice team win. Proud of Lily tonight, she was great in the second half. So proud of our seniors and how our fans supported them tonight.“- Coach Jon Kreiner
Leashja Grant put up 16 points with 20 rebounds along with Lily Gruber-Schulz who also had 16 points.
The Thunderwolves celebrated graduating seniors Jerika Baldin, Bridget O’Reilly, August Ricketts and Katelyn Andrea tonight who have shown great dedication and hard work over the years.
The Wolves finish the regular season 16-8 and will now host a playoff game on February 21st at 7:00pm in the Thunderdome against Laurier again.
Queen’s 46 Carleton 67
OTTAWA, ON – It was a fitting finish to what has been a thrilling season for the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team. An all-around team effort fuelled Carleton’s 67-46 victory as the starters and reserves took turns shouldering offensive and defensive responsibilities.
Third-year guard Cynthia Dupont (Coaticook, QC) played 22 big minutes off the bench, tallying 16 points, while also collecting four rebounds and a steal.
“It was a great result on such an emotional evening on Senior Night at the Ravens’ Nest. It’s the end of an era for a lot of these kids. We didn’t play nervous and we played to win,” Ravens head coach Taffe Charles said.
“It’s a combination of a couple transfers that helped us out, a couple of fifth and fourth-year kids who’ve grinded it out. It’s a real special group and we’ll savour it today, but we’ve got to move forward and make it count next week.”
The Queen’s Gaels entered the Ravens’ Nest with a solid 17-5 record and were looking to bust Carleton’s undefeated streak in front of the hometown crowd. The Ravens raced out to a quick 5-2 lead after fifth-year guard Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) stroked a three-pointer before forward Elizabeth Leblanc (London, ON) added a layup in transition. Queen’s punched back thanks to some gritty work in the post from Veronika Lavergne, who scored four of the Gaels’ 14 points in the quarter as they held Carleton in check to enter the second frame tied 14-14.
The Ravens began to find their mark in the second after a back-and-forth first quarter. Consecutive three-pointers from Marianne Alarie provided Queen’s with a 22-18 lead, but back-to-back threes from forward Alyssa Cerino (Stoney Creek, ON) and freshman Madison Reid (Carleton Place, ON) knotted the score back at 24-24 with six minutes left in the opening half. Carleton continued to rally behind its bench as Dupont, Cerino and fifth-year guard Steph Carr (Stittsville, ON) led the charge in a quarter that saw the Ravens outscore the Gaels 24-14, including a fast-break layup by Carr to close out the quarter 38-27.
Carleton opened the second half on an 8-0 run that was capped off by a baby hook in the lane by center Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, ON), who saw limited minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Queen’s answered with a 5-0 run of their own, but Dupont had other ideas as she poured in six more points thanks to an aggressive willingness to drive into the paint.
The Ravens entered the fourth quarter with a 55-38 lead. Coach Charles continued to lean heavily on his bench in the final 10 minutes, and it paid dividends as the second unit held Queen’s to just 8 points to ensure that Carleton closed out the season with an entertaining 67-46 victory.
“I think our biggest thing is we kind of forgot about the first game and just moved forward. We make mistakes, it happens, but we try to work it out as a team,” Dupont said.
“We share the ball very well and that’s what makes us a good team.”
Algoma 37 McMaster 88
The McMaster Marauders women's basketball team will bring serious momentum into the playoffs, after capping the regular season with their 14th straight victory, defeating the Algoma Thunderbirds 88-37.
McMaster concluded the regular season with a 20-4 record, clinching the top spot in the OUA West division and the right to host throughout the conference playoffs.
Rookie guardSarah Gates (Newmarket, ON) continued her dominant second semester for the Marauders, scoring 16 points and finishing the game shooting 40 per cent (6-15).
Gates was one of four Marauders to have double-digit scoring performances in their final regular season game. Starters Olivia Wilson (Lion's Head, ON) (13 points) and Linnaea Harper (Newmarket, ON) (12 points) were both active in the paint for McMaster and contributed 17 rebounds between the two of them.
Julia Hanaka (Hamilton, ON) rounded out the double-digit performances for Mac. The Hamilton native tallied 11 points and led the Marauders with three steals. She knocked down three three-pointers in the first half.
Jamerka Martin (Milwaukee, WI) led the Thunderbirds with 15 points in her final game of her OUA career.
In the first half, the Marauders were typically effective at range, hitting 45 per cent of their shots from beyond the arc.
McMaster went into halftime holding on to a 45-24 lead, adding a bucket to their halftime total from the night before.
Piecing together a strong defensive performance, the Marauders held the Thunderbirds to just five points in the third quarter while adding 20 to their own total.
The fourth quarter saw little improvement in Algoma's game plan as the Marauders continued to have their way en route to their 20th victory.
Wins and losses aside, both teams recognized their seniors following their final regular season game. Algoma's Sydney Resch, Mairead Dunn, and Jamerka Martin were presented with flowers by Marauders' head coach Theresa Burns as Saturday marked their final game of their OUA careers.
Laurentian 74 Ryerson 83
TORONTO – It was a night of sustained celebration for the Ryerson Rams, as they capped off their regular season with an 83-74 victory over the Laurentian Voyageurs, and acknowledged the incredible contributions that the team’s graduating players have made to the women’s basketball program.
Tonight’s Senior Night’s honoured the playing careers of Tashana McDonald (Whitby, Ont.), Chloe Mago (Scarborough, Ont.), Savanna Hamilton (Mississauga, Ont.), and Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.).
Unlike the pomp and circumstance of the Senior’s Night festivities, however, the Rams were forced to play one of their most dramatic games of this regular season.
Throughout the first two quarters of play, the Rams were trying to deal with a Laurentian team that was playing well beyond what their current record would indicate.
The Voyageurs seemed to significantly understand the distinct size disadvantage they were facing in the front court. With the largest Laurentian forward being three-inches shorter than Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.), the Voyageurs were relentless in implementing a double-team on the all-star Rams forward.
While this strategy didn’t fully prevent Paska from moving to the top of the score sheet, as she recorded 12 points heading into halftime, it did force the Rams to become more reliant upon perimeter shooting which seemed to hamper the Rams scoring abilities.
Additionally, the Voyageurs did a sufficient job in shutting down paint-directed passing lanes defensively, acquiring nine steals before the end of the half.
In contrast, and with the exception of a larger-than-normal number of turnovers, the Rams maintained a typical degree of efficiency on offense. Acquiring 20 points in the paint, to go along with nine offensive rebounds, the Rams were the dominant presence in the front court throughout the first half.
Heading into the final two quarters, the Voyageurs determination to achieve the massive upset did not waiver for a minute.
Throughout long stretches of the third quarter, the Rams and Voyageurs would exchange the lead as both teams were able to connect offensively, while simultaneously neglecting their defensive obligations.
The Voyageurs shot an otherworldly 54.5% from deep throughout the second half, while Ryerson shot 50% from the field. This, however, is overshadowed by the over ten turnovers committed by both teams throughout the final two quarters, that permitted the frequent changes in the lead.
Thankfully for those fans in attendance, Laurentian’s momentum would eventually be pacified by a Rams squad that began to act as a collective unit. The Rams outscored the Voyageurs 27-15 during the fourth quarter, and created several key stops defensively that prevented Laurentian from gaining any advantage.
In the win, freshman guard Leyki Sorra (Toronto, Ont.) led all scorers on the court with a career-high 22 points, to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Fellow Ram, and veteran forward, Sofia Paska similarly had an incredible night with 16 points and nine boards.
However, credit must be given where credit is due. In their last game of the regular season, in a game that would have no effect upon their postseason fate, the Laurentian Voyageurs were playing possibly their basketball of the season.