With a trip to the OUA semifinals on the line, the Gee-Gees women’s basketball team got out to an early lead and never looked back, as they defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 73-50 in the opening round of the OUA Critelli Cup playoffs on Wednesday at Montpetit Hall.
The Gee-Gees defence, which was ranked third in the OUA during the regular season in points per game allowed, was a catalyst for the team once again as the team held the Varsity Blues to 7.7% from the field in the opening quarter. The Gee-Gees were able to take advantage of their great defensive pressure and played at a fast pace that helped them jump out to an early 20-6 lead after the first quarter, which included a 13-0 run.
As the pace slowed down in the second half, the Gee-Gees were able to use their height advantage on the inside to dominate the boards and maintain their lead. Third-year forward Angela Ribarich (Philosophy and Political Science) and first year forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu (Biomedical Science) were key in this as they both had efficient nights from the field while anchoring the Gee-Gees on the defensive end. Lefebvre-Okankwu led the team with 17 points and 11 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end, while Ribarich finished the night with 12 points on 6-9 shooting, 3 blocks, and added two rebounds of her own.
“Angela and Brigitte were certainly dominant,” said Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks, pleased with the team’s performance. “Which is what we need with our shooting still inconsistent at times, like it was tonight.”
Sparks was also encouraged with the Gee-Gees defensive effort, saying that the team “did a great job of running them off the three-point line which was important because that’s a real strength for this team.”
In addition to Lefebvre-Okankwu and Ribarich, notable players for the Gee-Gees were Brooklynn McAlear (International Development and Globalization) who finished with seven points, nine assists, and four steals. Jennifer Crowe (Electrical Engineering) also filled the stat sheet with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
The Gee-Gees will now travel to Kingston on Saturday to take on the Queen’s Gaels, who finished with the second seed in the OUA East. The two teams split the season series both winning at the other team’s home gym, their most recent matchup was a Queen’s win at Montpetit only six days ago. Tip-off from the Queen's Athletics and Recreation Centre is set for 6 p.m. and will be streaming live on OUA.tv.