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HOME PREVIEW: Homestand kicks off against North Division duo

Thursday January 12, 2017
Gee-Gees Player getting ready.
Greg Mason


Laurentian (2-8) at Ottawa (5-2)
Friday, January 13
6 p.m.
Montpetit Hall
Tickets available online
Webcast on

Nipissing (1-9) at Ottawa (5-2)
Saturday, January 14, 2017
6 p.m.
Montpetit Hall
Tickets available online
Webcast on

The OUA North Division will be on display at Montpetit Hall over the next six days starting with third-place Laurentian and fourth-place Nipissing. Ottawa captured wins over both teams early in the regular season and need to follow up with another pair in order to keep pressure on first place Carleton, who comes to Montpetit on Tuesday, January 17.

 “We are still within reach of Carleton. We know we are still pushing for the goal of trying to win our conference long term,” says head coach Andy Sparks, who has captured top spot in the OUA North in each of the last two seasons. “I think it is up to a matter of consistency of effort and respect for the opponent.”

Ottawa will focus on offensive execution and improving rebounding percentages going into this weekend’s matchups. The roster will be shuffled this weekend due to injuries; the team has confirmed they will go without Julia Soriano (hamstring), Danielle Marion (shoulder), and Aliisa Heiskanen (wrist).

 “It was certainly disappointing to lose [at Waterloo],” says Kellie Forand who was a major defensive factor in Ottawa’s most recent win, at Laurier.  "I think we learned a lesson from that loss, the timing was good because it gave us kind of a wake-up call for the tough road ahead.”

Last time Ottawa met Laurentian the Gee-Gees needed a strong fourth quarter to take a 71-60 win. “We had trouble containing Laurentian’s guards. The turning point of that game was when we picked up pressure and create turnovers on their part,” explains Forand. Laurentian had similar results to uOttawa last weekend with, losing to McMaster 87-58, and defeating Brock 64-56. “We are going to have to control their tempo and play them tough,” adds Sparks.

Nipissing is coming off a pair of losses last week, dropping a 75-67 score to Brock and 89-36 against McMaster. Ottawa dealt the Lakers a 62-44 defeat in November.

Friday’s game against Laurentian will mark this year’s Shoot for the Cure game, supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. The Gee-Gees and Voyageurs play this game in memory of Carolyn Swords: a Laurentian basketball alumni, Ottawa native, and friend of Andy Sparks. This game has deep significance for uOttawa players and coaches, many of whose family and friends have been affected by the disease. Members of the Gee-Gees team will donate their hair at halftime, while proceeds from fundraising efforts throughout the evening will go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Shoot for the Cure is a nation-wide effort by U Sports women’s basketball programs to raise awareness and support for the foundation.