Throughout the opening game of the 2013 CIS women’s basketball championship tournament, the number eight seed Ottawa Gee-Gees had onlookers in the University of Regina gym thinking upset. In a low-scoring affair which played to the underdog’s defensive style, the two-time national champions from Windsor broke through with a key stretch of scoring at the end of the third quarter which put them ahead for good, ultimately advancing them to the semi final round with a 56-46 win.
The tone of the game was set early as neither team was able to break through until the three minute mark when Ottawa’s Catherine Traer picked off a Lancer pass in the paint, drove the ball up court and found Tatiana Hanlan on baseline for midrange jumper. Traer bucketed eight points and tallied four steals in her first game at the CIS nationals, while Hanlan led the Gee-Gees with ten points.
After a 13-10 first quarter with the Lancers in the lead, Windsor’s scoring troubles continued well into the second period. They were held scoreless for five and a half minutes until second team All-Canadian Jessica Clemencon drew a foul in the paint off the ball and sank her two free throws. Miah-Marie Langlois then bucketed six of her eleven first half points to lead Windsor into the dressing rooms with a 21-18 advantage.
A re-energized Ottawa squad tied the score at 27-27 in the third quarter before taking the lead thanks to an old fashioned three-point play by second-year forward Ariane Lachance-Scantland. That basket was just one converted by an Ottawa squad bound and determined to attack the paint.
"We did execute the defensive game plan," affirmed Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks. "When you look at the game as a whole, they scored ten hoops off transition meaning we gave up five baskets in our quarter court defence. You can’t expect to do much more than that, and they would probably say that they did the same thing to us as we did to them. We were not moving the way that we needed to be on offence – we didn’t click."
Following Lachance-Scantland’s bucket, Ottawa took a series of poorly timed fouls and then committed a fatal pair of turnovers, leading to uncontested layups by Korissa Williams and Andrea Kiss which ended the quarter with the score at 36-30 for the Lancers.
"We were ready for their pressure, but we didn’t act like we were ready for it," said Tatiana Hanlan of the Lancer pressure. "We made sure not to lose focus when they went ahead, because we know they are an energy team."
Windsor stuck to a transition attack to open the fourth quarter, pulling ahead by 10 points in the first minute of action. Despite some good counter-attacks in the open court, Ottawa again went scoreless until the 6:56 mark when Tatiana Hanlan took an aggressive approach to the basket. Jocelyn LaRocque responded immediately with a three-pointer, establishing the largest lead of the game at 44-32.
Despite the deficit, Ottawa refused to let Windsor out of their sights and a back and forth battle ensued. A beautiful pass from Lachance-Scantland found Jenna Gilbert down low, then Ottawa’s full court pressure generated a turnover which Hanlan converted into another trip to the foul line.
"Unquestionably we broke down in some situations when we needed to be focussed. Did age and experience have something to do with it? I think we saw a lot of good things from our rookies today – they were big positives overall," said Sparks, referring to Soriano, Traer, and Katherine Lemoine. "If we had to do it over again, I don’t know if we would have changed a whole lot."
Julia Soriano and Gilbert each scored baskets to pull within six points of the Lancers before seeing the lead balloon back to ten. Once more the Gee-Gees attempted to answer – Maddie Stephen scored a bucket and Hanlan poured in two more from the free throw line to make the score 50-44 with 2:30 to play.
Windsor showed their experience in the final two minutes as they calmly handled the ball while forcing Ottawa into turnover situations in the backcourt. The Gee-Gees seemed to have one last gasp in them as they continued to fight for quality shots in the final minute, but the shots wouldn’t fall for the underdogs. Windsor scored seven of their twenty fourth quarter points from the foul line.
Langlois finished the game with thirteen points, and Ottawa held Clemencon to ten points with solid interior defence. Both teams shot 31 per cent from the field, but Windsor sank five three pointers while Ottawa was shut out from long range.
The garnet and grey will now compete on the consolation side of the bracket, facing off against the loser of the quarter-final match between the no. 4 Carleton Ravens and the no. 5 Calgary Dinos at 1 p.m. central time on Saturday afternoon.
1 2 3 4 F
Ottawa 10 8 12 16 46
Windsor 13 8 15 20 56