The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team saw its season end after a four-point fourth quarter and clutch shooting from the Western Mustangs allowed an eight point Ottawa lead to drift away and turn into a 66-60 win for the underdog Mustangs.
Western entered the contest as the 11 seed in the OUA playoffs and advance to the quarterfinal round on the back of 21 points and 10 rebounds from Mackenzie Puklicz. The fourth-year guard sank five treys in the contest and was supported by a strong 15-point performance from Julia Curran.
The Mustangs started and finished well, while Ottawa owned the middle portion of the game. A wildly entertaining third quarter which began with the teams knotted at 37-37 saw the lead change hands twice before the Gee-Gees stretched out to a 56-48 lead. Eight points from Puklicz in the third kept the Mustangs within striking distance.
Western changed up its defensive look in the fourth and it stymied the host Gee-Gees. At the other end Western was frequently shooting at the end of the shot clock but were able to convert enough buzzer-beaters to take a 63-60 lead.
“We had an issue of composure on offence, for sure,” said Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks of the final minutes. “Four points in the fourth quarter tells you a lot. Western stepped up and made plays."
It was a frantic final two minutes with neither team able to find the bottom of the basket but frequently throwing themselves to the floor at every opportunity. Ottawa, after several chances at the offensive end, was forced to send Victoria Heine to the free throw line where she sank two.
The Gee-Gees then put the ball in the capable hands of Julia Soriano on its ensuing possession. She drove to the hoop for a straight on layup and saw her final shot attempt for the Garnet and Grey carom off the backboard.
Danielle Marion was a sparkplug for the Gee-Gees, collecting five hard fought offensive rebounds and sinking 14 points.