What better way to restart the regular season than a rivalry game between the uOttawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens? The two 5-3 teams will battle for top spot in the OUA North Division on Friday night in Montpetit Hall, tipping off at 7 p.m. The teams haven’t met since the Ravens ousted the Gee-Gees in the OUA quarterfinals last season. You can bet these Gee-Gees want to avenge that loss.
“Carleton is a very tough team with lots of bigs and they lead the country in rebounding differential,” says Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks. “They are playing great defence as well and we will do what we can to play an up-tempo game that would be more in our favour.”
With that size mismatch, the Gee-Gees may also look to steer the game outside the paint and out gun the Ravens with shooting. The Gee-Gees rely on that shooting game as they average the second most field goals and three-point field goals made per game in the CIS, while the Ravens rank 40th and 34th respectively in those categories.
Last week, after solid wins over the Acadia Axewomen (72-56) and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (77-50), the Gee-Gees were defeated in the final of the Thunder Selects Holiday Classic in Halifax by the Lakehead Thunderwolves (83-73).
Emerging second-year guard Sarah Besselink shined in the win over the winless Axewomen, going 10 for 16 and amassing 27 points. But she was unable to play in their next two games. Julia Soriano and Kellie Ring stepped up in her absence, scoring 28 and 26 points respectively over the following two games.
Even without a strong post presence, the Gee-Gees managed to out-rebound all three of their opponents but shot 38 per cent on the weekend, below their average of 41 per cent, also continuing the trend of the team with the most shot attempts in the OUA.
The three game trip was valuable exhibition play to help shake off the rust of a month off and help them prepare for an opponent who’s always ready to give them a game.
Head coach Andy Sparks was very pleased with the way his team played overall but the tournament came with a cost as Besselink could miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury sustained against Acadia.
In addition to Besselink, Sparks says his team will be without the services of Katherine Lemoine and Catherine Traer who have both missed the balance of the season already. The Gee-Gees seem unable to catch a break on the injury front this season. However, Sparks does expect to have leading scorer Stephanie MacDonald back after she missed the Lakehead game and all but four minutes of the Toronto game with a quadriceps injury.
Don’t wait to get your tickets for this weekend. You can purchase them in advance online. If you can’t make it out, tune into OUA.tv for all the action.