With the season still in its infancy, the uOttawa Gee-Gees go limping into the University of Guelph and Lakehead University on their first road swing of the 2013-14 campaign.
After Stephanie MacDonald was forced to miss Saturday’s matchup with the Windsor Lancers, the Gee-Gees saw starting guard, Kellie Ring go down with a lower body injury in practice this week.
“We are still a little beat up and will be missing at least 4 players because of injury,” says Andy Sparks, Gee-Gees head coach, who knows his team has a lot of potential.
“This is one of the difficult weekends in our schedule. Travel is a problem and flying the day of a game is not great. We are playing two very good teams who are playing at home and we are expecting great games.”
Ottawa collides with the Gryphons in Guelph on Friday night, meeting a team who could show some urgency for their first win after opening losses to the York Lions and Queen’s Gaels by a combined margin of just 15 points.
The Gryphons ran a record of 5-4 in preseason play, seeing action against some very solid opponents including the Saint Mary’s Huskies, Carleton Ravens, and Concordia Stingers.
“Going into this weekend we need to focus more on the defensive end,” says Kellie Ring who may have to instill the defensive mentality in her teammates from the sidelines this weekend.
“Too many times this past weekend we let the other teams get easy baskets. We want teams working hard for their shots so that is definitely a key for us.”
From there, the Gee-Gees hop a plane to Thunder Bay for a Saturday night meeting with the Lakehead Thunderwolves.
The Thunderwolves split the opening weekend losing to Queen’s by six and beating York, holding them to a mere 39 points in the process - second fewest this season.
The battle on the boards should prove to be a key theme in this match up. The Thunderwolves average 42 per game so far, while the Gee-Gees lead the OUA with 46 per game. They know success in rebounding will help to bring other aspects of their game along.
After holding their position at no. 10 in this week’s CIS national rankings, the Gee-Gees are staying positive in this young season.
“The team is just awesome and such a good group of girls,” adds Ring. “We are still building the chemistry between everyone and we are still getting used to the new systems, but that is normal for a team with a bunch of new faces. We have to continue to push each other in practice to make everyone better and the chemistry will just come - it'll take some time but we will peak at the right time.”