Coming off a roller coaster win on the big stage at the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic, the uOttawa Gee-Gees swing down the 401 in their final road trip of the regular season to take on the York Lions and the Queen’s Gaels.
In Toronto on Friday night, the 2-14 York Lions will play host to the banged up Gee-Gees who are 6-2 on the road this season.
“York is competing much better as the year has progressed,” says uOttawa head coach Andy Sparks. “They have a very good coach there and they’ve improved a lot. They’re now losing 10-point games to pretty good teams where at the start of the year they were getting blown out. So I would expect that given where we are with our personnel, we’re going to have to play well.”
Despite their improvements, the Lions have lost seven straight and allowed at least 65 points in each of those games.
On Saturday, the Gee-Gees will be in Kingston to battle the 9-6 Gaels.
A win in either game and a Laurentian loss or a pair of wins for the Gee-Gees this weekend clinches an inaugural OUA North Division win. As for the Gaels, they want to solidify themselves in the second spot in the OUA East Division behind Ryerson and ahead of the University of Toronto. But they’re also chasing the Gee-Gees who sit one place ahead of them in the RPI.
At best, the Gee-Gees can finish with a 8-5 RPI record and still have a shot, although unlikely, for one of the four first round byes in the OUA playoffs. Sparks thinks the Gee-Gees will end up staying in their current place of sixth in the RPI.
The Gee-Gees may need to rely most on their seventh ranked defence which has allowed just 54.9 points this season and less than 50 in the past four contests. They hope this will translate positively into their offence that has struggled of late to put up points. The Gaels are eighth in Canada in points per game, averaging 71, and rebound very well especially on the offensive end of the floor.
“Queen’s is very solid,” adds Sparks. “So certainly it’ll be a challenge for us to try and defend them. I thought we defended very well in the Capital Hoops game. If we can bring that second half intensity into a full game, we’ll be able to compete with anybody.”
In their lone meeting this season, it was the Gee-Gees on the losing end of a tight game in preseason play against a Queen’s team who started the season ranked in the CIS Top Ten.
Versatile senior Kellie Ring is doubtful to play this weekend after she re-aggravated an old knee injury in the game against Carleton.
“If I had thought at the start of the year we would lose Ring, Besselink, Marion, Traer, and Lemoine, we would probably be happy with where we’re at right now, realistically. It’s a complement to the other girls that they’re really stepped it up.”