The four-time OUA Coach of the Year and a big performance from OUA Second Team All-Star Catherine Traer led the first seeded University of Ottawa Gee-Gees to victory in the first OUA semi-final game of the weekend. A 56-42 win over the fourth-seeded McMaster Marauders at Montpetit Hall sends the Gee-Gees through to Saturday’s 8 p.m. Critielli Cup Final and also earns the team a trip to the CIS Final 8 next week. The low-scoring basketball game showcased both teams’ unrelenting defence and work ethic.
The Gee-Gees scored 19 of their 56 points in the final quarter of the game with Traer leading the way serving up game-changing blocks and taking it end-to-end to land the game-high of 25 points. The third-year guard was all over the court on defence picking up four steals and two blocks en route to being named the Porter Airlines Player of the Game.
“As soon as we had a little bit of a lead, we kept pushing and never let down,” adds Traer on the growing lead that amounted to the win in the final minutes of the game.
“The execution got better once we stretched Catherine Traer out to the perimeter and brought their big outside," remarks Ottawa head coach Andy Sparks on the turning point of the game. "It gave us some lanes to attack which was a positive."
Despite high intensity brought on from both teams at the tip off, it was slow-scoring game as the first half closed with the Gee-Gees leading the low scoring game 19-13. The Marauders, who ranked third in the CIS for field goal percentage, were shaken in the first half with a mere 17.2 per cent from the field. Semi-final nerves hit both ends of the floor as Ottawa went 8-33 to close the first half.
Things started to heat up for the Gee-Gees as they went on a 6-0 run in the third, but were quickly shut down by a big three dropped Marauder Hilary Hanaka. The second-year guard closed the game with nine points in three-pointers alone. The third quarter burst was improved by smooth ball movement from McMaster with a nifty over the shoulder pass from Linnaea Harper for an easy lay in for Daniella Boiago. The three-time OUA all-star Boiago, two shy of a double-double stuffed the stat sheets with a team high of 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 each for steals and assists.
“We defended well, contested the shots, and forced them to take maybe a bad shot, but we didn’t do the rest of the job and clean it up giving the team second and third chances,” notes McMaster head coach Theresa Burns.
The Gee-Gees out rebounded the Marauders 25-16 on the offensive end. Big on the boards for Ottawa was OUA First Team all-star Kellie Ring and Second Team all-star Julia Soriano bringing down 13 and 10 boards, respectively. Adding to the big boards, Kellie Ring secured a double-double netting 12 points as well as 5 assists, 4 steals and a block.
Tickets for the Critelli Cup final are available online at tickets.geegees.ca, and include the bronze medal match which will tip off at 6 p.m.