In the final weekend of the regular season the Gee-Gees will be looking for their fifth and sixth wins in a row with the playoffs coming right on their heels. The Nipissing Lakers and Laurentian Voyageurs are standing in the Gee-Gees’ way of a season-long win streak this weekend.
Ottawa’s current win streak is only equaled by a four-game streak they went on following an opening night loss to current no. 9 McMaster. Coming off an important win at Queen’s on Saturday, the Gee-Gees are locked into the sixth playoff position and will host Carleton or Laurentian on Wednesday (Feb. 25) night.
The Gee-Gees last met these two teams back in November and stormed through their gyms, humbling Nipissing 92-13 and Laurentian 89-49.
Winless Nipissing will see their inaugural season in the CIS come to a close this weekend. They’ve been the punching bag of the OUA but that’s nothing unexpected as the adjustment period from CCAA into the CIS is never pretty.
“I think Laurentian’s going to be pretty interesting this weekend,” says head coach Andy Sparks. “We beat them pretty easily up there. But I think we had one of our better games. We moved the ball well, shot it well. Laurentian has a very big game with Carleton on Friday night because that will determine who’s 10th or 11th and who plays us in the first round of the playoffs. So there’s a chance we could see Carleton again here if Laurentian beats them.”
Another week, another injury for the Gee-Gees. This time senior guard and the team’s second leading-scorer, Krista Van Slingerland went down in practice with a broken bone in her ankle and missed both games last weekend. The Gee-Gees rallied again and took out both York and Queen’s on the road anyway. Sparks expects van Slingerland back in the lineup for the playoffs.
“The Queen’s game was a really good win for us,” added Sparks. “They were coming off a 32-point win over Carleton the night before. It looked like they were going to be really tough and in the first half they were, but in the second half we really buckled down defensively and did a great job. We outscored them 41-29 in the second half. They’d only lost two games all year in their home gym. So we expected a tough game but the girls played great so that’s positive. We’re trying to build on that.”
The fact the Gee-Gees possess the OUA’s best defence (5th best in Canada) will certainly serve them well heading into the post season. They know the Voyageurs will shoot the ball on them. Laurentian is a decent shooting team but have lost three of their last four contests and allow an average of 68 points per game. Laurentian has only three wins against playoff teams this season and the same number of wins on the road.
Since the Gee-Gees cannot improve their playoff position, it’s all about heading into the playoffs in the right grove.
“I think right now it’s about getting as much chemistry as we can this weekend. Chemistry has been a problem this year just because we’ve been so disjointed. We haven’t had many games this year with our top four players playing well together. I think if they continue to share the ball as well as they have, I think we’ll be okay.”