Women’s basketball (18-3 OUA)
Hosted Ryerson (11-10 OUA) on Friday, February 17, 2012
uOttawa top scorers: Jenna Gilbert 19 points; Bess Lennox 16 points; Hannah Sunley-Paisley 15 points, 19 rebounds
The Gee-Gees showed flashes of the type of play that has made them a dominant squad this season, but a persistent Ryerson squad hung around and caused some sloppy play by the talented Gee-Gees in the middle quarters of the game. The game was up for grabs until the Gee-Gees took control early in the fourth quarter, taking a twenty point lead before sitting the starters and finishing with an 85-67 victory.
The Ottawa defense had a couple of key stops at the beginning of the fourth, while on the offensive end the ball movement was crisp and the offensive rebounding advantage was clearly evident. Jenna Gilbert continued to hit three-pointers from the corner, finishing the game with 19 points to lead the offensive effort. Bess Lennox made crisp cuts through the paint to collect her 16 points, matching her season high.
“We started to execute – we know that we have the ability to play like that,” explained Andy Sparks, referring to the fourth quarter play. However, he also noted that, “A little bit of that was related to where they were at that point. They didn’t have the minutes from their bench like we did so they were a little tired. Full credit to them for the effort that they put in, for sure.”
The Gee-Gees pounded ball inside early, taking advantage of their size with first Sunley-Paisley, then Lennox, then Gilbert scoring for uOttawa from inside the paint. The Gee-Gees opened up a 13-6 lead, causing a Ryerson timeout. Ryerson tightened up defensively out of the timeout, denying the middle. The Gee-Gees hit a couple of outside shots to keep their lead, but the increased Ryerson defense forced a number of bad passes, and Ashley MacDonald’s outside shooting kept them close. Ariane Lachance-Scantland hit a three to close the first period with the Gee-Gees up by four.
Even with Teddi Firmi draped all over her for much of the match, Ashley MacDonald was able to hit step-back shots and poured in 14 first half points for Ryerson. She was silenced in the third by a zone setup by the Gees, but finished the game with 20 points.
“Teddi had a big job to guard [MacDonald] and she did a very good job on her after the first quarter, but it may have affected the offensive end,” said Coach Sparks in an effort to explain his team’s strumbling points. “I don’t think we were reading the play very well today. Still, it was a solid performance.”
The Gee-Gees found success when Kellie Ring drove the lane, she went coast to coast and finished or made opportunities for her teammates to pick up easy put back baskets. One such drive sparked a Gee-Gees run at the end of the third quarter – the Gee-Gees went on an 8-1 run with a minute to go to give themselves a cushion heading into the fourth.
With a season-high 19 rebounds, Hannah Sunley-Paisley is now only four rebounds away from becoming second on the all-time OUA rebounding list. She would be the second Gee-Gee to surpass the previous record this season.
The win gives Ottawa sole possession of first place in the OUA East heading into the playoffs, setting up a home playoff date on Saturday February 25th, and the chance to host the OUA Final Four the following weekend if they are able to win on the 25th.