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Uottawa

Sunday slowdown for sixth place Gee-Gees

Sunday March 17, 2013

The Gee-Gees were unable to conjure another comeback effort after falling behind by sixteen points at halftime to the McGill Martlets, who captured the consolation final and a fifth place finish at the 2013 CIS Final 8 with a 71-50 win Sunday morning.

Ottawa started the game 0-7 from the field, while the Martlets found the open spaces in the Gee-Gee defence and also made good on 7-8 free throws to build a 19-5 lead. CIS Rookie of the Year Mariam Sylla did most of the early damage, scoring six in the paint. Although Jenna Gilbert knocked down a three at the end of the quarter to break into double digits, the Gee-Gees found themselves in a big hole down 21-10 after the opening ten minutes.

McGill enjoyed 50 per cent shooting in the first half, led by Sylla and their unlikely hero Gabriela Hebert. The second-year forward from Chicoutimi, Que., averaged just 5.8 points per game in the regular season but caught fire at the right time.

Things looked promising for the garnet and grey to open the second when Catherine Traer hit a three after Gilbert chased down an offensive rebound and Soriano also connected from long range to put the score at 25-16. Continuing to chip away, the Gee-Gees forced a turnover on the baseline which Soriano collected to go coast to coast, bringing the deficit to 27-19.

"I definitely grew as a player," said Soriano reflecting on her experience at the national tournament. "Since I did get a lot of playing time in the season, I don’t think of myself as a rookie anymore and I knew I had to step up."

After that promising start the Ottawa defence lagged ever so slightly and Hebert took over for McGill, hitting three straight outside shots including two treys to extend the Martlet lead back to sixteen points. Hebert had 15 points at halftime thanks to 6-6 shooting from the field and finished the game with 19 to lead all scorers.

The Gee-Gees’ player of the game, Kim Cupid, did an admirable job of keeping Ottawa close in a foul-filled third quarter. She sank a pretty jumper from the foul line and also shot 5-for-6 from the free throw line during a two minute scoring spree and the Martlet lead was down to 52-40 going into the fourth. Cupid finished the game with 10 points to lead the Gee-Gees offence which shot just under 30 per cent in the game.

Hebert sank a contested three from the corner midway through the fourth quarter which served as the dagger. With turnover after turnover on the offensive end, Ottawa got no closer than the sixteen point spread established by the Hebert strike.

The fifth place finish for sixth-seeded McGill is their best since 1993 when they captured the bronze medal, while the eighth-seeded Gee-Gees finish in the top six in the country for the second straight season. The result serves as a building block for the young group of players who will return next season.

Rookies Catherine Traer and Julia Soriano impressed throughout the tournament, each averaging thirty minutes per game and starting all three games. Traer averaged 9.6 points, including a team-high thirteen in the win over Carleton, while Soriano played tough defence against CIS all-stars when she wasn’t running the point.

"What I learned here is that it was really a toss-up – anyone could win the games, all you need is the focus, " said Soriano. "Obviously it was McGill that had it today."

BOX SCORE

                                1              2              3              4              F

Ottawa                 10           14           16           10           50

McGill                   21           19           12           19           71