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Cross-town rivals to meet again with CIS Final 8 berth on the line

Thursday February 28, 2013

Women’s basketball (16-4 OUA, 1-0 playoffs)

Host Carleton (15-5 OUA, 1-0 playoffs) in OUA East Final, Saturday, March 2nd, 6:00 p.m. (SSN Canada)

After splitting their two regular season meetings, the uOttawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens women’s basketball teams will meet once again on March 2nd, this time in the OUA East Finals. The winner of Saturday’s match at Montpetit Hall is guaranteed a berth into the 2013 CIS women’s basketball Final 8, hosted by the University of Regina, from March 15 to 17. The loser could potentially qualify as well, but only if they can earn the lone wild card berth available for the CIS Final 8. The two teams are coming off of impressive wins in the OUA East semifinal games last weekend, as uOttawa routed the Queen’s Gaels 72-44, while the Ravens beat Toronto 71-47.

“I think our level of execution was very good against Queen’s and I think the key was on the intensity side of things. Effort makes up for a lot of mistakes and I thought the effort was really good, but there are still a lot of things we want to clean up for this week,” said Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks.

With star point guard Kellie Ring injured, the Gee-Gees will once again look to utilize a committee of guards in the backcourt against Carleton. Guards Julia Soriano, Kayte Chase, and Kim Cupid all saw significant minutes against Queen’s and helped shut down the Gaels’ offence, while third-year shooting guard Sarah Nolette contributed with key baskets from beyond the arc. However, the Gee-Gees will face a tougher challenge this weekend, as the Ravens have a veteran-laden backcourt, led by fifth-year senior Alyson Bush, who is averaging 14.2 points and 3.6 assists per game.

“Between Bush, Elizabeth Roach and Kendall MacLeod, they have 14 years of university basketball experience, which is more than what our entire starting group will have. We hope that our athleticism can neutralize that a little bit. But we certainly can’t let Alyson Bush wander around and take open shots because she’s a great attacking player. We’ll have to get as much production as we can from our own experienced players,” explained Sparks.

Second-year post Maddie Stephen is the other key injury in the Gee-Gees’ lineup, but she was able to play six minutes against the Gaels, suiting up for the first time since February 2nd. While Stephen will play a slightly expanded role this weekend, veteran forward Jenna Gilbert and Alyska Lukan will have to continue their excellent play for the Gee-Gees to earn a victory against the Ravens. Gilbert had 11 points and 12 rebounds the last time these two cross-town rivals played each other, which ended in a 52-50 win for the Gee-Gees on February 15.

“We’re likely going to keep Stephen around 10 to 15 minutes of play—realistically, that’s how much she can effectively play right now,” said Sparks. “Carleton and we are pretty similar teams and I think it’ll be a real tight game, and a great game for fans to come watch.”

Tickets to this rivalry playoff game are just $6 for uOttawa students and $10 for adults.