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Gee-Gees host Lions Wednesday in playoff opener

Monday February 17, 2014
Richard A. Whittaker

After a pair of wins to close the book on the regular season, the uOttawa Gee-Gees are ready for the challenge of a demanding playoff run. As the three-seed in the OUA’s East Division, they host the six-seed York University Lions this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Montpetit Hall.

“We showed some improvement over our last weekend’s games and we’re looking forward to playing York who beat us down a couple of weeks ago,” says head coach Andy Sparks, who has guided the Gee-Gees to the OUA playoffs each year in his six years at the helm. “We have our final practices today and tomorrow and will work to clean up a couple of key areas. We’re expecting to dress 12 players for the first time in a month so it should be a good game.”

With a regular season record of 14-8, the Gee-Gees finished 12 points in front of the 8-14 Lions but the two teams spilt the season series. uOttawa took the first meeting at Monpetit Hall handily, 69-47. Julia Soriano came out with a career-high 18-point performance to lead a banged up Gee-Gees squad.

Kayla Pangos and the Lions responded two weekends ago in Toronto, defeating the Gee-Gees 60-51. Pangos has a game-high 17 points in the victory. But her team dropped their final two contests of the season and will surely be hungry to end that trend.

Aside from their most recent meeting, uOttawa has dominated York winning the previous 11 times these teams have played each other. The return of veterans Stephanie MacDonald and Francesca Bellehumeur-Moya and the improved team health will help add depth and swing some favour in the Gee-Gees direction.

“In order to be successful this weekend our pressure as well as our defence will be really important,” says 6-1 forward Maddie Stephen. “Locking down defensively is our main priority. We had a really good week of practice last week and two wins last weekend, so we are looking to build on that.”

The winner will head to the OUA East semifinals against either the Queen’s Gaels or Carleton Ravens, and the loser’s season would be done. After getting this far and in a single elimination scenario, both teams know execution is key.

Statistically, the Gee-Gees hold an edge in offensive production but not much has separated these teams in points allowed. Playing an up-tempo and high-pressure style has worked well for uOttawa recently. The Gee-Gees could certainly use their inside game and rebounding ability to their advantage but have to be mindful of the Lions’ superior free-throwing percentage. In a playoff game, it can come down to just that.

Tip time is 7 p.m. If you need more information about tickets, please visit the Buy tickets page.

The game will also be broadcast on SSN Canada.