Coming off a hard-fought victory over rival Carleton, the uOttawa Gee-Gees look to further their lead in the OUA North division when they play host to the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Friday and the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday.
Saturday’s game will be a fundraiser for the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI), a non-profit organization co-founded by Krista van Slingerland.
The Gee-Gees are proud to partner with SAMHI to raise awareness of mental health among student-athletes and ease access to support networks. “It’s both heartbreaking and inspiring to hear from other coaches and student-athletes from across the country that this is not out of the ordinary,” says van Slingerland, who is working towards a Master’s in Human Kinetics. For more information, visit samhi.ca
Friday will be another tough test for the Gee-Gees on the Montpetit Hall court. Lakehead puts their 6-3 record on the line, the same record as the Gee-Gees, and a five-game winning streak that includes an 83-73 exhibition win over uOttawa. That game, in Halifax, was the Jylisa Williams show for Lakehead. The fifth year, 5-foot-8 guard racked up 44 points and secured 18 rebounds. Averaging 29 points per game, the most in the country, the Gee-Gees will obviously have their hands full trying to contain her.
As a team, Lakehead is right on the outside of the CIS Top Ten picture. They were 11 votes shy of the no. 10 spot this week. Two victories in Ottawa could help to propel them on to the list. However, the Thunderwolves are a mediocre 2-2 away from Thunder Bay.
With the exception of the Lakehead game over the exam break, the Gee-Gees have given up fewer than 60 points in each of their last six games. The lowest point total of that stretch, 48, came last Friday against Carleton. It looks as though that game and the trip to Halifax has helped the Gee-Gees vastly improve their team defence which still features an all-guard team on the court.
Saturday night will feature an improved Guelph Gryphons team who sits at 5-3 in the OUA West, fighting with Lakehead and McMaster for top spot. They opened up 2015 with a 67-53 loss to the 8-1 Laurier Golden Hawks in which they were within five points in the final two minutes.
Both uOttawa and Guelph shoot the three-ball well. The size advantage will definitely be in Guelph’s favour as two of their six-footers start and log decent minutes. With uOttawa’s continued injury troubles, especially at forward, they’ll need their guards playing undersized post positions to play like they did against Carleton. Given that, no doubt the Gryphons will try to make use of 6-foot forward Katherine MacTavish’s talents to their full potential. She leads all OUA forwards with 17 points per game.
This won’t come as a surprise as the Gryphons have used that depth at forward to become the third best in the CIS in offensive rebounding. That’s led directly to a lot of second chance opportunities and subsequently the fifth most field goal attempts per game.
Both games are set for 6 p.m. starts at Montpetit Hall. Tickets are now on sale online. If you can’t make it down, catch all the action live onOUA.tv.