The Gee-Gees came out Saturday night to make their first weekend a split and they did just that by downing the visiting Brock Badgers 85-77.
With an array of injuries to their forwards, both Katherine Lemoine and Catherine Traer out of the line up, Andy Sparks started five guards. That set the tone for what type of game it would be: a shoot-out. The teams combined for 131 shot attempts and less than 30 points each in the paint.
The high-scoring nature of the game reflected less on the two teams’ ability to score and more on a lacklustre defensive game.
“On the defensive end of the floor we really weren’t very good,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “We gave up 77 points. That’s a huge number. They make you push out and guard the perimeter and they’re decent enough with their attacking that we struggled with how to guard the perimeter and still guard the ball. We still have to work on ball defence.”
New Gee-Gees guard, Jen Stoqua, started the game off by nailing three trays in the opening minutes. “We talked about it yesterday, we took 23 threes yesterday and we only made a few of them. So today was a lot more inside out and that was our focus. We wanted to take the shots that were good,” said Stoqua who led the way going 5-for-6 from three for 18 points.
Sarah Besselink added 18 points off the bench, while Krista Van Singerland had 15, and Stephanie MacDonald had 14. Melissa Tatti put up a game-high 22 points, including six three-pointers, for the Badgers, while Kate Harpur was right behind her with 20 points.
“Our defensive end is definitely our main focus, winning the match ups and one-on-one battles, beating them back on transition and going from there,” added Stoqua.
The Gee-Gees led for all but one minute despite their troubles on defence. They just were unable to stop Brock from keeping it close. Brock, coming off a three point loss at Carleton the previous night, fell behind by 14 in the first quarter but countered with back-to-back threes to make it 26-18 at the end of one quarter. They’d inch closer, coming within four but ended up in the locker room at halftime trailing by 11.
Brock kept hanging around until the Gee-Gees were able to put together a run in the fourth quarter that put it effectively out of reach. Brock got within seven points but the Gee-Gees quickly turned it back and restored a comfortable margin.
“There were lots of deficiencies tonight in our game,” said Sparks. “We really struggled to defend the basketball you could see that tonight for sure. We didn’t really have a post player to throw the ball to so our shooting had to be decent or we were going to be in real trouble. We’re still not getting to the free throw line. We took six foul shots. We took seven last night. It’s going to cost us eventually.”
Ottawa hit 50.7 per cent of their attempts and saw a 36 point contribution from the bench.