The uOttawa women’s basketball team took a bounce-back 45-40 win against Wilfrid Laurier on Saturday night, improving its regular season record to 5-2. uOttawa played strong perimeter defence and stayed in control during a tight finish to the fourth quarter.
“Our girls did a fantastic job on them, so that was really the difference in the game – the defensive end of the floor,” said Ottawa head coach Andy Sparks.
The fourth quarter had Laurier’s fourth-year Nicole Morrison drawing consecutive fouls to tie the game three separate times. With 30 seconds left in the game Ottawa held a three-point lead coming out of a time out with the ball. Kellie Forand received the inbound, was fouled, and performed under pressure by sinking both free throws, ultimately securing the win for uOttawa.
Forand was a bright spot throughout the contest, stepping in for the injured starting point guard Julia Soriano and providing excellent defensive pressure. “Kellie did a great job in that position for us,” noted Sparks, who commeded Forand for her work late against Morrison. Another key defensive matchup was the work of Jennifer Crowe on Laurier’s top scorer, fifth-year Kaitlyn Schenck.
Laurier’s Morrison was the game-high scorer with 15 points, while Katherine Lemoine led Ottawa with eight points.
The game got off to a slow start as the teams were locked in a 2-2 tie for most of the first quarter. Despite the low scoring, the Garnet and Grey came out incredibly aggressive shown through their six consecutive offensive rebounds.
The Gee-Gees kept the tempo high and maintained their aggressiveness going into the second quarter. Lemoine produced back to back baskets for uOttawa, while Melina Wishart battled through contact to get the bucket. Forand earned a standing ovation from her team after brushing off a hard charge, and the Garnet and Grey led 26-17 at half time.
Laurier tested uOttawa’s defence by showing up offensively in the third quarter, knocking down 13 points and ultimately cutting the lead to two heading into the fourth.
The Gee-Gees outrebounded the Hawks 49-44 while the bench contributed 24 points. “It was good for us to respond after last night. It was really nice to see us put the effort in,” concluded Sparks.
uOttawa returns home next weekend to play Laurentian University on January 13, and Nipissing University on January 14.