The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team received a push from a much improved Nipissing Lakers team before pulling away in the fourth quarter to claim a 65-46 win in the opening game of the regular season. Although Ottawa led throughout the contest, the Lakers used pressure and hustle to continually claw back within single digits of the garnet and grey.
Catherine Traer led the way for Ottawa, scoring 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting. The senior forward was active on the defensive end as well, picking up three steals and four rebounds. Third-year guard Kellie Forand and sophomore Ariane Lefevbre also reached double-digit scoring with ten apiece. Forand, of Shawinigan, Que., added six rebounds and four steals to lead the team.
Claire Abbott was the spark for Nipissing, scoring 16 points with a steady performance throughout the game.
After working up to a 36-23 lead at halftime, the Gee-Gees slumped significantly under the defensive pressure from the Lakers in the third quarter and the lead was down to six at several points. Ottawa also had difficulty taking advantage of its size against the smaller Lakers lineup, rarely working the ball inside and losing the rebounding battle 39-30.
“They totally controlled the tempo with their containment press,” noted Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks. “We have a lot of young players in there trying to make decisions for us and that’s what happens. We also got out-rebounded, which probably means we got out-hustled."
Big three-pointers from Traer and Forand put Ottawa off on the right foot in the fourth quarter, and from there the lead was never threatened.
The Gee-Gees will complete the home opener weekend with a game against Laurentian on Saturday night at 6 p.m.