The Western Mustangs (4-3) went on a 15-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter and held on to hand the uOttawa Gee-Gees (6-1) their first loss of the regular season, 75-66 in Ottawa on Saturday night.
Caroline Wolynski was clutch for the Mustangs as they took the lead and the fifth-year guard hit a dagger three-pointer from the top with 22.4 seconds left to seal the win. Wolynski finished with 18 points, nine of which came in the final frame. Maddy Horst supported with 17 points and seven rebounds.
For Ottawa, which led up until the Mustangs tied the score at 60-60 early in the fourth quarter, Catherine Traer scored 18 while sparkplug guard Julia Soriano had a season-high 16.
After Ottawa started with a 17-6 lead, the physicality of the Mustangs came out at both ends. It was all Horst for the Mustangs in the first quarter as she counted 10 of the team’s 14 points. Western was able to run plays to create space for the posts cutting through the paint and turned turnovers into transition baskets to cut the lead to 28-27.
“They attacked the basket well and we could not guard the ball. Our help and rotations were poor as well,” said Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks. "Full credit to their bigs because they neutralized Katherine Lemoine, who was excellent yesterday.”
A pair of threes from Traer and close range scores from Kellie Ring helped Ottawa regain a 44-34 lead at halftime. Key steals from Julia Soriano midway through the third kept the Ottawa lead at ten until a late charge from Western and a foul call at the buzzer had the gap at 57-51.
Western tied things up at 60-60 with tight defence and a pair of free throws from Meredith McLeod. Ottawa struggled on the offensive end in the fourth, first under the pressure of the Mustangs but in the end missed shots in the paint ended the Gee-Gees winning streak at 10 games.
“This was a character game after the win last night; we needed to follow up. I think the girls wanted it and almost pressed too hard,” added Sparks, who often had to remind his team to slow down after some rushed shot attempts.
While Ottawa shot 7-15 from long distance in the first half, which cooled to just 2-12 in the second half. Western was consistent throughout the game, shooting 51.9 per cent from the floor in the first and increasing to 60 per cent in the second half.