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Capital Hoops Battle Goes to the Gee-Gees 57-47

Tuesday January 21, 2014
Richard A. Whittaker

A banged up uOttawa Gee-Gees squad weathered a second half push-back from rival Carleton Ravens to take the annual Capital Hoops Classic 57-47 on Tuesday night. Spurred on by a passionate home crowd at the Canadian Tire Centre, the Gee-Gees avenged a disappointing early season defeat at the hands of the Ravens. This is the just the second win for the Gee-Gees in seven Capital Hoops Classic match ups with the Ravens.

The Gee-Gees were energized by a 9-0 run to open the game while forcing three straight turnovers. Carleton was asleep in the first quarter, shooting 16 per cent from the field. Their first bucket didn’t come until 5:05 into the game, while Ottawa’s Angela Tilk was able to exploit a mismatch as inside to put up 10 points in the frame.

The Ravens came out of the quarter break much more determined. They’d hit three of four three-pointers from the same spot, the foul line extended, and worked the lead down to one by the eight minute mark of the second. They’d tie it and take their first lead on free throws from Elizabeth Roach.

uOttawa snatched back the lead, 26-23, in the closing minutes as they headed for the locker room. Responding to the Carleton comeback, the Gee-Gees in the opened the second half with a pair of threes to gain some immediate separation. The Ravens came on late in the quarter, drawing within four points and setting up a close fourth.

The Gee-Gees held Carleton scoreless for a five-minute stretch while they extended the lead to 10 with less than five minutes to go and didn’t look back.

 “We really just locked down on defence at that point,” said Maddie Stephen. “Really there was a period of time when they started coming back (in the third quarter) when we weren’t scoring but we were also letting them score. So it was really important that we tightened up on defence.”

 “I think this was a really good game for us and everyone really stepped up,” added Stephen, who had 13 rebounds and 10 points in the win. “We’re getting used to playing with new people because we did lose some of our starters. This was a great step moving forward.”

Elizabeth Roach put together a solid game for the Ravens who drop into a tie with uOttawa for first in the OUA East standings at 10-4. She recorded a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

 “This was really a case of us gutting this one out I think,” said head coach, Andy Sparks. “Every time you play in this game [Capital Hoops], it’s definitely a motivating factor but at the same time this isn’t a life or death game at this point in the season.”

Finishing off a five-game, eight-day set, the Gee-Gees will play host to the York Lions and Queen’s Golden Gaels this Friday and Saturday at Montpetit Hall.

Stephanie MacDonald, favouring her right ankle, attempted to play through the pain but had to come off in the late stages of the game. She didn’t return. Not a good sign given the injuries this team has sustained already.

 “We’ve got three starters that are out of the lineup right now and we’re probably not expecting them back,” said Sparks. “So this team really has to develop its own identity without those players. So every one of these kinds of games is good for us going forward. We knew we had really good depth at the start of the year so it’s really the case now that the depth has to understand that it’s their turn to step up.”