The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team (6-1) is set to take on the Carleton Ravens (5-2) in the Bytown Battle at the Raven’s Nest this Saturday, January 16. The ongoing rivalry between the Ravens and the Gee-Gees is years deep with Ottawa delivering victories in their last three encounters with the Ravens. In all three games, the difference between a win and a loss has been a mere six points.
This time around, the Gee-Gees are nearly at full strength and playing solid basketball which has earned a no. 9 ranking in the CIS Top Ten. Ottawa, looking to repeat as OUA North Division champions, have a two-point edge over the Ravens in the standings and can gain control with a win this week. However, Carleton gained big victories over Windsor and Western to finish off November strong.
“Physically, [Carleton] might be the biggest team in the CIS right now. They can start four people that are 6-foot-1 and over,” noted head coach Andy Sparks “So it’s going to be a game of tempo.” The Gee-Gees, being a small and speedy team, plan to run the ball and keep the tempo in their favour throughout the game.
One player that adds that physicality to Carleton’s roster is third-year forward, Heather Lindsay. Proving to be a powerhouse, Lindsay has put up 17.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Ravens. On the defensive end the Gee-Gees will look to win the match-ups against Lindsay in the inside game with 6-foot-2 post player, Katherine Lemoine.
“We’re going to see if we can handle [Lindsay] in a one-on-one situation but if we can’t, it becomes us having to double down,” explains Sparks “If we have to double down on her their perimeter shooting becomes a factor.”
Carleton players Stephanie Carr, Natasha Plaskacz, and Elizabeth Leblanc net, on average, between one and three three-point jumpers each game. As a team Ottawa sinks about seven three-point buckets per game (fifth overall in the CIS) contributed primarily by Julia Soriano, Kellie Forand, Catherine Traer, and Sarah Besselink.
Strong inside and beyond the arc players on both sides of the court insures a strong fight for the Gee-Gees. “I’ve always looked at the rivalry a bit differently because it doesn’t make or break our season and our goal is to win a national championship,” remarks Sparks “This is just a good step because we’re playing against a very good team.” Patrick Flynn, assistant coach for uOttawa, echoes that sentiment noting that, “We approach every game wanting to win it and I don’t think it’s going to be that much different for Carleton.”
Saturday’s game will tip off at 6 p.m., with a live webcast available on OUA.tv.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Overall record: OTT 13-3, CAR 10-9
Points per game: OTT 71, CAR 68.7
Points allowed per game: OTT 54.3 (7th CIS), CAR 52.7 (3rd CIS)
Rebounding margin: OTT 4.1, CAR 5.9
Field goal percentage: OTT 39.5, CAR 41.2 (6th CIS)
3-pt field goal percentage: OTT 34.7 (6th CIS), CAR 34.3 (7th CIS)
Steals per game: OTT 10.7 (5th CIS), CAR 9.9
Blocks per game: OTT 2.4, CAR 3.6 (8th CIS)