A new year yielded a solid start for the Gee-Gees women’s basketball squad. They kicked off 2014 with a pair of road wins and were subsequently bumped up to no. 8 in the CIS national rankings.
They handled the Algoma Thunderbirds 85-49 on Friday in the first ever OUA meeting between the two teams. Saturday they travelled to Laurentian University and took down the Voyageurs 61-51.
“We are expecting a couple of players to be back on the roster this weekend after injuries and we will be adding Charlotte MacKenzie who is now eligible to play after returning from Calgary,” says head coach Andy Sparks ahead of this weekend’s games.
Friday’s tilt against the University of Toronto will be the Gee-Gees’ first home game since November 23 and the first of three games in five nights and five within a span of eight days all in Ottawa. This stretch can go a long way to revealing a clearer playoff picture.
The Varsity Blues, who are 5-7 and six points back of the Gee-Gees in the OUA East, have to be relishing the opportunity to come into Ottawa and steal a couple wins from two teams they’re chasing in the standings – Ottawa and Carleton.
The Blues’ Jill Stratton should be someone the Gee-Gees will watch closely. The 5-11 senior has amassed 164 points, 63 rebounds, and 33 steals so far this season. Along with that, she shoots 77 per cent from the free throw line.
Saturday will feature another divisional match up at Montpetit Hall as the Gee-Gees host the Ryerson Rams (4-8). As they sit in the fifth position, they continue to try and hold off York and Laurentian, who are right behind them, and move up on Toronto for the fourth spot in the standings.
Eleven players on the Rams average between 13 and 25 minutes or more per game so they will likely attempt to keep guard Keneca Pingue-Giles and forward Annie Sokoloff fresh to carry to bulk of the offensive load. They shoot 43 and 44 per cent respectively from the field.
The Gee-Gees will look to exploit the Rams on the offensive end. They hold dubious title of the conference’s worst defence, allowing opponents 68 points each game, a total of 813 this season.
“We have a very busy couple of weeks coming up with five games in eight days,” says coach Sparks. “Both Toronto and Ryerson have improved and added players to their roster recently that will make for great games this weekend.”
As are all games in this short season, this stretch is particularly important for the Gee-Gees. They get another shot at the Carleton Ravens on Tuesday night in the annual MBNA Capital Hoops Classic at Canadian Tire Centre. Both teams enter the weekend at 8-3 and are tied atop the OUA East the standings.
All three games tip off at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on SSN Canada.