OUA Women's Basketball Roundup (Feb. 26)

Photo by Valerie Wutti
Photo by Valerie Wutti

Round 1

York 61 Ryerson 66

The Ryerson Rams will continue their run towards the Critelli Cup as they overcame a surging York Lions squad 66-61 in the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Wednesday night.

Unlike in previous years, the Lions have proven to be a thorn in the Rams side, having beaten them twice in the regular season enroot to this first round rematch.

"They added an MVP-candidate in Lindsay Shotbolt," stated head coach Carly Clarke on what's set this year's York Lions apart. "I think she has been one of, if not the best, players in the conference all season.  Their coach also did a tremendous job with her team this season in bringing their younger players along, and we knew it was going to be a battle tonight."

With the cross-town rivalry and enmity between the two teams fomented this year providing the backdrop, the match-up proved to be one that needed all forty minutes.  

Shrouded with the eccentric screams of excited fans, the first half can be described as two quarters split between dominance by either team.

Throughout the first quarter the Lions appeared to be firmly in control of the contest.  Implementing full-court defensive pressure from the get go, York's penchant for fast-paced rotations in their zone formations shut down Ryerson passing lanes throughout much of the first ten minutes of play.

As a result of this, Ryerson's offensive efficiency suffered as, at one point, the Rams were held to near 20% shooting.  

In contrast, it almost seemed as though the Lions were able to hit from almost anywhere on the court, as they shot nearly fifty-percent from the field, and close to seventy-percent from the three-point line.  

The Lions concluded the first quarter atop the scoreboard, as they led the Rams 16-10.

"The defence we were playing needed to be changed very quickly," commented coach Clarke on what needed to be done to put a stop to the Lions scoring surge. "They execute their stuff really well, and they were getting the ball where they wanted, so we went quickly to mix it up which has had some success against them in the past."

In the second quarter, however, the Rams began to completely turn the momentum of the contest around.  

Ryerson's defensive efforts and offensive efficiency began to improve in tandem, as they forced the Lions to commit turnover after turnover, while simultaneously continuing to encroach upon the Lion's ever decreasing lead.

Outscoring the Lions 21-13 throughout the second quarter, the Rams all of a sudden held a 31-29 lead heading into the second half.

Throughout the final two quarters the Rams would never again relinquish the lead that they had built as they continued to lock down York defensively.

While the Lions attempted to put a stop to the Rams new found momentum, their inability to convert offensively, as indicated by their falling field-goal percentage throughout the final two quarters, prevented them from gaining any kind of edge.

In the win, several Rams players made noticeable contributions to the home team's victory.

Cara Tiemens (Newmarket, Ont.) made a noticeable veteran impact on the court, providing 11 points to go along with four steals, while providing a consistent leadership role on both ends of the court.

Additionally, fellow senior teammate Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.) made her presence known in the paint as she tallied an otherworldly 18 rebounds to go along with 14 points in yet another double-double performance.

However, the contribution provided by freshman Marin Scotten (Ottawa, Ont.) made a considerable impact on head coach Carly Clarke.  In her first ever playoff appearance in a Rams uniform, the guard led all scorers with 18 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals.  

"I think I told the girls, she balled out," stated Clarke on Scotten's performance this evening.  "I thought she was ready to go from the get go.  Statistically she made shots, she made plays, and she was all over the floor which impacted the game beyond the stat sheet.  She is normally a quiet person, but there is a major competitor inside of her."

Source: ryersonrams.ca

Toronto 50 Ottawa 73

OTTAWA, Ont. - With a trip to the OUA quarterfinals on the line, the Gee-Gees women's basketball team got out to an early lead and never looked back, as they defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 73-50 in the opening round of the OUA Critelli Cup playoffs on Wednesday at Montpetit Hall.

The Gee-Gees defence, which was ranked third in the OUA during the regular season in points per game allowed, was a catalyst for the team once again as the team held the Varsity Blues to 7.7% from the field in the opening quarter. The Gee-Gees were able to take advantage of their great defensive pressure and played at a fast pace that helped them jump out to an early 20-6 lead after the first quarter, which included a 13-0 run.

As the pace slowed down in the second half, the Gee-Gees were able to use their height advantage on the inside to dominate the boards and maintain their lead. Third-year forward Angela Ribarich (Philosophy and Political Science) and first year forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu (Biomedical Science) were key in this as they both had efficient nights from the field while anchoring the Gee-Gees on the defensive end. Lefebvre-Okankwu led the team with 17 points and 11 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end, while Ribarich finished the night with 12 points on 6-9 shooting, 3 blocks, and added two rebounds of her own.

"Angela and Brigitte were certainly dominant," said Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks, pleased with the team's performance. "Which is what we need with our shooting still inconsistent at times, like it was tonight."

Sparks was also encouraged with the Gee-Gees defensive effort, saying that the team "did a great job of running them off the three-point line which was important because that's a real strength for this team."

In addition to Lefebvre-Okankwu and Ribarich, notable players for the Gee-Gees were Brooklynn McAlear  (International Development and Globalization) who finished with seven points, nine assists, and four steals. Jennifer Crowe (Electrical Engineering) also filled the stat sheet with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Source: geegees.ca

Western 72 Guelph 68

GUELPH, Ont. - The Mustangs edged out the Guelph Gryphons with a four-point victory on Wednesday night, allowing them to progress to the Critelli Cup Quarter-final in Hamilton. Western finished the regular season as the OUA West's fifth-ranked team, holding a record of 13-11.
Julia Curran and Victoria Heine led the purple and white offence in the first round victory over Guelph, recording a respective 22 and 21 points apiece. Heine was also the top rebounder for the Mustangs, with four offensive and ten defensive rebounds to complete the double-double.
Mackenzie Puklicz is traditionally the team's highest scoring athlete, leading the team through the regular season with an average of 18 points per game to total 431 throughout the season. The fifth year veteran racks up the highest number of points, but it's Curran and Heine who lead the team in accuracy – both finishing the season with more than 40% of their shots moving up the purple and white score.
The one area of the game that has consistently caused problems for the Mustangs, however, has been the rate at which they can rack up personal fouls. Western averages 13.4 fouls per game to lead the OUA – which can become problematic if the score is tight throughout the game.
January's contest between McMaster and Western saw the Marauders come away with an 83-80 win, with 14 points being earned from the free throw line.
Friday, February 23 at 1:00 pm – Western at McMaster – Watch LIVE on OUA.tv
The Marauders earned a first round bye after finishing first in the OUA West with a 20-4 record, making Friday's contest their first of the post season.
McMaster's regular season success was in part informed by the team's ability to score from outside the arc. Few teams in the league are comparable to the Marauders when it comes to three-pointers, with the team leading the league in attempts (27.6) and baskets (8.6). Accuracy wise, they remain ranked among the best in the league with a 31.2 percent of shots going in.
Hilary Hanaka has been anchoring the effort throughout the season, ending with a 41.3 three-point percentage after 19 games. The veteran guard played a large role in the success of the Marauders over the Mustangs in the regular season, with Hanaka putting up 15 points in the first meeting, and 20 in the second.

Source: gryphons.ca

Laurier 60 Lakehead 74

THUNDER BAY. Ont. - The Lakehead women's basketball team beat the Laurier Golden Hawks 74-60 in round 1 of the OUA Playoffs tonight on home court.

It was a close first 5 minutes of the game, as both teams understood what was at stake. Lakehead pushed ahead nearing the end of the first going on a 14-0 run to give them a 19-6 lead. Lakehead maintained their energy in the second and led 30-15 going into the half.

After being down 17, Laurier was able to capitalize on Lakehead's turnovers and hit some big shots. The Golden Hawks brought it within 5 but the Thunderwolves re-grouped in the fourth. Lakehead got their offense going while continuing to go hard on the boards and walked away with the 74-60 win at the final buzzer.

"We had a lot of grit tonight when Laurier stormed back. We had a very strong first half defensively but Laurier found some weaknesses and exploited them well in the third quarter. Tiffany was really big for us going 5-5 in minimal minutes at key times. I thought many of our young players stepped up at times and made some positive contributions. When we move the ball good things happen and we will need great ball movement when we play Windsor." – Coach Jon Kreiner

Leashja Grant put up 27 points with 16 rebounds tonight and Jerika Baldin had 13 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. Tiffany Reynolds had a great game back from an injury with 11 points. Lakehead out-rebounded Laurier 50-28 and had 24 total assists.

The Thunderwolves will now advance to the quarterfinals to face the West Division's second seed, Windsor Lancers on February 24 at 7:00pm. Lakehead faced Windsor earlier in January losing both nights, 67-56 on Friday and 72-57 on Saturday. The Lancers finished the regular season off 20-4 with their losses coming from McMaster, Carleton and Queen's. Lakehead will need to focus on shutting down Emily Prevost, who is averaging 15 points per game, as well as any of their other strong shooters who can spot up anywhere.

"Once again we feel extremely privileged for this opportunity to move on and play a quarterfinal matchup vs Windsor. We struggled earlier in the year to contain Windsors Transition game and shooters and we also struggled to score at times. Windsor is a very experienced team with good size, great shooters and they are a very strong running team due to their rebounding prowess and athleticism. We will need to make sure we play our game, work hard on defense and rebound the ball well. We need to take care of the ball against Windsors pressure defense and find ways to get good looks."

Source: Thunderwolves.ca




Western 51 McMaster 61

HAMILTON, Ont. - Two possessions swung McMaster's tense OUA quarter final against Western Saturday, tipping the scales fatally in favour of the host Marauders.

Leading by just a single point with three and a half minutes to play, McMaster saw the pair of rookie guard Sarah Gates (Newmarket, ON) and veteran forward Linnaea Harper (Newmarket, ON) knock down threes on consecutive possessions to put the game, and a spot in the semi finals on February 28, beyond Western's reach.

The dual daggers helped the OUA West's top seed to a 61-51 victory, as the Marauders eliminated the Mustangs in a conference quarter final for the second consecutive season.

With the win, McMaster earned another home appearance, as they will play host to the lowest remaining seed in the OUA East in a conference semi final at Burridge Gym on Wednesday, February 28. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. with the opponent to be determined at the conclusion of Saturday's remaining quarter final games.

Harper's perfectly-timed execution from three-point range was part of a tidy, 18-point performance that led the game. She was seven of 11 from the floor for the afternoon and a perfect two of two from beyond the arc, but did much of her damage in a clutch fourth-quarter cameo, shooting three of five for seven points in McMaster's lockdown quarter.

Mustangs star Mackenzie Puklicz was the visitors' leading scorer in a losing effort, with 15 points on seven of 20 from the floor, but crucially hit just one of 10 attempts from three-point range Saturday.

Their inefficiency from beyond the arc was a persistent problem for Western throughout the quarter final, as the Mustangs made just three of 22 three-point attempts as a group (13.6 per cent).

By contrast, McMaster shot 40 per cent from long range, hitting six of 15 attempts as a team, led by two each from Harper and Gates.

Unable to cause trouble for the Marauders in the paint, the Mustangs had just two free throw attempts in the loss, hitting neither, while their hosts made good on 13 of 18 attempts from the stripe.

Saturday's win was McMaster's fifth-straight against Western, and marked the second consecutive year in which the Marauders had eliminated the Mustangs from the postseason, having beaten them 82-54 at the quarter final stage a year ago.

Source: marauders.ca

Ottawa 74 Queen’s 63

KINGSTON, Ont. - In a highly intense matchup with the Queen's Gaels, the Gee-Gees women's basketball team was able to clinch a spot in the OUA Critelli Cup semifinals with a 74-63 win in Kingston on Saturday night.

The game opened with a furious pace as the Gee-Gees took an 11-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game, before the Gaels roared back with an 11 unanswered points of their own to tie the score, not even five minutes into the first quarter.

The Gee-Gees, as they have done all year, used their aggressive defence to establish a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and were able to maintain that lead heading into the halftime break. Key in that second frame was the play of third-year forward Angela Ribarich who had held the Gaels in check, recording six of her game high eight blocks in the quarter, as the Gaels were only able to muster 10 points before the half.

While the Gee-Gees lead fluctuated in the second half, reaching a high of 14 and a low of 4, the young team was able to stay poised thanks to timely baskets from key contributors, including first-year guard Maia Timmons.

Along with Ribarich who had a game high of 19 points, 15 of which came in a dominant second half performance, was first-year forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu. The first year Biomedical Science student from Gatineau, Que. who led the team in scoring during the regular season (12.3 ppg), added 18 points of her own on 7-12 shooting. The two forwards were dominant in the rebounding game, as they collected over half of their teams 44 rebounds compared to 33 for the Gaels, including nine of the teams 15 on the offensive end.

Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks highlighted the play of third-year guard Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus, who finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

"I can't say enough about Brooklynn. Even though her stats may not blow you away, she's not afraid to make a play and she's a great floor general for us," said Sparks.

With the win, the Gee-Gees will now travel to Hamilton to take on the McMaster Marauders who finished the regular season atop the OUA West division. The only meeting between the two teams this season was a 48-45 win for the Gee-Gees on Dec. 2 in Hamilton.

Looking ahead to next week's matchup with the Marauders, Coach Sparks said that despite the team's win in the regular season, they did not particularly play well against them.

"I think we've grown a lot since then," said Sparks. "I expect a great game and a good test for us".

Source: geegees.ca

Ryerson 66 Carleton 82

OTTAWA, Ont. – The Ravens got off to a promising start in their road to the Critelli Cup championship with an 82-66 victory over the Rams. Ryerson hung around with Carleton for the better part of three quarters, before ultimately succumbing to Carleton's defence in the fourth quarter.

Fifth-year guard Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) came alive in the second half to score 19 points, while also dishing out four assists and collecting two steals and a block in 32 minutes of action.

"We knew the post-game was going to be a tough matchup and they have some really good shooters. We used our taller guards in the low-post against their smaller guards and we were able to get some baskets in transition," forward Alyssa Cerino (Stoney Creek, ON) said.

"Rebounding remains a main focus for us. It's always going to be a battle on the boards and Ryerson was a great contest for us."


The Rams closed out the regular season on a three-game winning streak and entered the Ravens' Nest with momentum following an opening round win over the York Lions. Ryerson looked strong to begin the game, opening with a quick 10-3 run that Bronwyn Williams capped off with a turnaround jump shot. Third-year guard Cynthia Dupont (Coaticook, QC) checked into the game and made an instant impact and finished the first with seven points. Dupont's willingness to drive the ball sparked a scoring outburst from center Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, ON), who scored eight points in final four minutes of the quarter to give Carleton an 18-16 lead.

After being limited in the first quarter due to early foul trouble, guard Nicole Gilmore (Hamilton, ON) caught fire in the second and scored the Ravens' first six points of the frame. A three by Gilmore boosted Carleton's lead to as many as nine points midway through the frame, but Ryerson made a run of its own to trim the deficit. The Rams rode seven timely points from Emma Fraser and a 12-8 run to bring themselves to within striking distance, down just 37-32 at halftime.

The seesaw style of play spilled over into the second-half. Back-to-back scores by Williams and Sofia Paska brought the Rams to within 41-38, to which Traer and Lindsay answered with consecutive baskets of their own. But the Rams would not go down quietly. Marin Scotten calmly nailed a three-pointer and Paska deposited a soft hook shot off the backboard to bring Ryerson back to within 45-43. Cara Tiemens converted an and-one at the 3:17 mark to knot the score at 51-51. With the lead very much in question, Dupont proved steady as per usual by hitting a three to put Carleton back on top. Traer followed suit with a three of her own before a layup by Cerino solidified a 59-53 lead for the Ravens entering the fourth quarter.

After trading scores throughout the games, head coach Taffe Charles' squad gathered their defensive bearings and buckled down in the final quarter. The Ravens outscored the Rams 23-13 in the fourth to pull ahead for good as part of an eventual 82-66 victory.

Fifth-year guard Jenjen Abella (Hamilton, ON) sat out the game with an injury, but was a vocal and supportive presence on the Ravens' bench.

"It was hard to not have her playing, but we wanted to save her. She helped our backup point guards a lot by watching film with them and she's a really great teammate on the bench too," Cerino said.

Source: goravens.ca

Lakehead 54 Windsor 66

WINDSOR, Ont. - The No. 8 Lancer women's basketball team advanced to the OUA semi-finals for the eleventh straight year with a 66-54 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves Saturday night at the St. Denis Centre.
Windsor was paced by Olivia Osamusali who scored 17 points for the Blue and Gold, while Lakehead's Leashja Grant led all scorers with 18 points on the night.
Grant also recorded a double-double, pairing her 18 points with 14 boards. The Lancers were led on the glass by Emily Prevost and Kaylee Anagnostopoulos who each had seven rebounds.
The size of the Lancers gave the Thunderwolves problems as they were outrebounded 34-23 and had four shots blocked by the Lancers.
The Lancers came out of the gate sluggishly on the defensive end to open things up. With the offense hitting on almost 47 per cent of their looks from the field there was no reason the first quarter should've been close, however, thanks to a hot Lakehead squad that shot an equally impressive 43 per cent from the field in the first quarter.
The Thunderwolves were able to play their way to a lead after one, 18-17. The Lancers locked things down a little more, knocking Lakehead's percentage to under 40. Jordan Gutt spearheaded Windsor's defensive effort with two blocks in the second quarter alone as the Lancers went into the break up 39-31.
In the third quarter the Thunderwolves took it to the Lancers, cutting their lead in half with a 45 per cent performance from the field. The Windsor offense disappeared in the third half as well as the failed to even attempt a three pointer, a usual stalwart of the Lancers attack. Making matters worse for the Lancers was their 21 per cent shooting mark from the field in the third frame as they struggled to keep separation between themselves and the Thunderwolves.
In the fourth quarter, the Lancers got their shot back as they began to re-open the gap from the Thunderwolves. Led by Osamusali the Lancers were able to score when it mattered as they advanced past the Thunderwolves, 66-54.

Source: golancers.ca