The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team bounced back to take a 63-57 over Toronto in the second to last game of the regular season. It was a battle tonight as the Gee-Gees came from behind not once but six separate times to take the win in the end. Sarah Besselink had a huge second half finishing with a regular season career high of 23 points along with seven rebounds.
“She stepped up in the second half. She got good looks and made them,” explains Ottawa head coach Sparks on Besselink’s performance.
Keyira Parkes finished with a team high of 11 points for Toronto, supported by Sarah Bennett with 10.
The Varsity Blues took a small lead to start tonight’s game, playing uOttawa point-guard McAlear-Fanus tight to force turnovers, and double teaming Besselink. Toronto went on a run mid-way through the first quarter stretching the lead to eight points thanks to point guard Keyira Parkes' three-point shooting. Ottawa veteran Julia Soriano responded by sinking back to back three-point shots.
The Gee-Gees battled back in the second quarter to close the five-point gap. Soriano, like a bolt of lightning, got the board and the basket over two Toronto defenders for a put back layup. Back and forth offensive surges from each squad caused several lead changes. uOttawa’s offence then lulled allowing Toronto to create a six point gap. Sparks explains, “It really concerned me the way we came out. It was not a good half-time speech for the girls.”
The Gee-Gees were able to turn it around in the third quarter as they fought back to tie the game at 35-35. Danielle Marion played big early in the quarter; in under a minute she had two offensive rebounds, a steal, a block and a bucket. Besselink’s three-point shooting gave Ottawa a five point lead.
Toronto pushed back closing the gap to one but was unable to stop Besselink once her offence got going. “She’s a fourth year player and you expect them to step up, and I thought she did in the second half,” explains Sparks. The Kingston, Ont. product was 5-for-9 on the night from downtown.
The uOttawa defence improved immensely at the start of the fourth quarter as the Gee-Gees limited Toronto to two points in over four minutes while Kellie Forand’s steal created a fast break which was finished by Jen Crowe with an easy layup off the glass. In another fast break Julia Dostaler found Amélie Hachey, who faked out a flying Toronto defender for two points.
Toronto put pressure on uOttawa’s lead and closed the gap to three points in the final minutes. In true veteran style, Melina Wishart and Besselink sank key shots to guarantee the win for uOttawa.