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Back on the right foot: Gee-Gees top Laurentian 63 - 49

Friday February 14, 2014
Richard A. Whittaker

On Shoot for the Cure night, the Gee-Gees showed up with an inspired performance to snap their three-game losing streak by defeating the Laurentian Voyageurs 63-49.

Laurentian came out attacking with speed and aggression on offence and claimed the early lead. The Gee-Gees took four minutes to get their first points of the second quarter. It was a three-pointer from Kellie Forand, her first attempt to that point and just the second three on 10 tries.

That seemed to spark the Gee-Gees. They took the lead shortly after on the back of a 17-6 run to sprint into halftime with a 30 - 24 lead. 

Ottawa’s play only improved in the second half. They kept the balance of the play in the offensive end and amped up the pressure in their full court press on every Laurentian possession. uOttawa held strong on defence, sustaining that full court pressure. That enabled them to settle into consistent team play and a workable margin between them and the Voyageurs. The Gee-Gees’ attack on the fast break pushed their lead to 15 by the midway point of the third. Laurentian couldn’t respond to it, giving way to sloppy play filled with turnovers.

Putting it into another gear in the fourth, the Gee-Gees built their largest lead to 21 points to seal the victory, their thirteenth of the season with one left to go.

 “I think the the last few games we’ve been playing a lot of half court defence and we weren’t getting the stops we needed so we decided to up the pressure from the get-go,” said Stephane MacDonald following the game. MacDonald was one of five Gee-Gees to reach double-digits with her team-high 12 points.

 “We got steals, we got what we wanted out of it. This result is definitely going to give us confidence, which we need. Every victory is good for our confidence heading into the playoffs.”

Danielle Marion also had a solid game with 5-for-7 shooting, while Maddie Stephen and Angela Tilk battled hard inside to help the Gee-Gees win the rebounding battle in the end.

 “I think our best offence was actually our full court pressure,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “The girls are getting through this tough stretch as best they can. We’ve still got five players out of the lineup. Hopefully by playoff time we’ll be able to get one or two back to give us a little more depth. We’ve still got some nerves out there and the expectations are going up on them. But, I think in general they sucked it up and did a pretty good job tonight.”

With the game also a fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society, Sparks spoke to the crowd following the game about the significance of it to him and both programs. The game was dedicated to Carolyn Sturgess (Swords), an Ottawa native who starred as a player at Laurentian. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer and unfortunately lost her long battle.

 “There’s a connection with us and Laurentian that’s pretty close. It’s through one family but it’s close to us and close to me because I coached with Shawn, who’s their coach, and Carolyn. It’s special for Laurentian too. They came over to me before the game and let me know it was for them.”

Sparks noted that more than $500,000 has been raised by the CIS women’s basketball programs in his six years he has been at the Gee-Gees’ helm.

uOttawa wraps up the regular season at home against winless Algoma tomorrow night at 6 p.m. On Wednesday the Gee-Gees kickoff the playoffs at home as the third seed in the OUA East hosting the sixth seeded York Lions. That quarter final matchup will tip will be at 7 p.m. in Montpetit Hall.

Box Score              1st           2nd         3rd          4th           Final

Laurentian              14            10            13            12            49

Ottawa                  13            17            18            15            63