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Gee-Gees head to nationals for second consecutive year

Monday March 1, 2010

Women’s Basketball (12-10 OUA, 3-0 playoff)

At Carleton (18-4 OUA, 1-1 overall) Saturday, February 27, 3:00 p.m. for the OUA East Finals

 Half  Game
Carleton  20  54
uOttawa 28  59

Ines Jelic 23 points, 7 rebounds – Carleton
Hannah Sunley-Paisley 26 points, 8 rebounds – uOttawa

The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team will be heading to the national championships for their second consecutive year as they went on to defeat the Carleton Ravens 59-54 Saturday afternoon in the OUA East finals at the Ravens’ Nest.

There was a lot at stake for the winning team of this game: the satisfaction of defeating their cross-town rivals, the OUA East title, home court advantage for the OUA Finals and, most importantly, a guaranteed appearance at the national championships at McMaster University from March 12-14.

The Gee-Gees defeated Ryerson, and the Ravens overcame the University of Toronto in quarter-final action last weekend to meet for the third time this season, a second year of play-off action in a row.

The Gee-Gees had yet to defeat Carleton this season, falling 70-46 to the Ravens at Carleton in their first regular season game and 53-40 at Scotiabank Place in the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic.

The Ravens were the first to score, as fifth-year forward Ines Jelic (London, Ont.) successfully put one in from the paint to put her team on the scoreboard. However, it did not take long for the Gee-Gees to set their tempo, scoring nine points in a row and pulling ahead by 6 to lead 14-8 at the end of the first quarter and 28-20 going into halftime.

The Ravens came out eager to change things in the second half and showed they weren’t going to back down, scoring 10 points in a row and taking a two point lead just over four minutes into the quarter.  Ines, third year forward Ashleigh Cleary (Kemptville, Ont.), and fourth-year guard Courtney Smith (Ottawa, Ont.) were dominant forces for the Ravens in their effort to keep the game’s score within points.

Once again, it did not take long for the Gee-Gees to regain the lead. Third-year Hannah Sunley-Paisley (Toronto, Ont.) helped pick up the momentum for the Gee-Gees, scoring ten points and making big defensive rebounds under the net to regain possession of the ball. Despite their efforts and a close score, the Ravens would not be able to take the lead for the rest of the game.

With 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 49 apiece, third-year guard Émilie Morasse (Québec, Qué.) pulled one up from the three point line to pull ahead by three. With the national championship appearance on the line, both teams battled it out until the very end, but the Gee-Gees would maintain their lead and take the OUA East title, winning the game 59-54.

Sunley-Paisley, who was also honoured with player of the game, could not have been happier:  “Last year we beat the University of Toronto at the University of Toronto, and this feels a hundred times better.”

“It’s just great. I love that we’re going to nationals and I love that we beat Carleton on the way to making it [to nationals] and we did that as a team,” Sunley-Paisley added.

Head coach Andy Sparks was truly pleased with his team’s performance. “I am very proud of these girls, they really played a great game.”

“Hannah, really, was very key. She was very patient today,” added Sparks. “We know that sometimes with her she gets flustered, but she was very patient today and really came through for us.”

“Carleton had an outstanding season this year and I think they had a lot more pressure riding on them coming into this game.”

The Gee-Gees will now get to play one more game at home this season, hosting the OUA championships next Saturday, March 6. Game time and opponent are yet to be determined.