Ottawa at Algoma
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The uOttawa women’s basketball team heads to Sault Ste. Marie for their season opener against the Algoma Thunderbirds this Saturday. Building on preseason momentum, the team will be focusing on principles of team defence, consistency, and overall communication.
“We have all the tools we need to be successful, it is just a matter of being focused and executing,” says fifth-year guard Julia Soriano after the team’s preseason. "We need to play defence with our principals and if we do, good things will follow.”
The team has had two weeks to prepare for Saturday’s game, during which the coaching staff asked the women “who are you as a team?” In response, Coach Sparks said “our first reaction should be we’re an outstanding defensive team, who has the ability to play off of that defence into good offensive transition, and to use our athleticism to get up and down the floor. That’s where we want to be, and we will go through the process of now really putting that into action.”
uOttawa will look toward the veteran leadership of Soriano and Sarah Besselink, who has been consistent offensively for the team. Assistant Coach Patrick Flynn also highlights the recent preseason efforts of Brooklynn McAlear, a second-year guard. McAlear is a two-sport athlete, joining the team after finishing her season with the women’s soccer program. “She is going to bring us another dynamic to our team, you could see it a little on the weekend but I think it will be even more moving forward,” says Sparks.
Last season, the Gee-Gees beat Algoma 74-23 and the Thunderbirds are 0-3 to start the 2016 season. The team is averaging 60 points per game, aided by 36 per cent shooting from long distance which ranks second in OUA. Algoma has added an American recruit, fourth-year guard Jamerka Martin from the WIAA Division 1, but she has not appeared in the first three games. “Our experience is going to be a factor in that game, being able to show up mentally is going to be key,” said fourth-year guard, Kellie Forand.
Of note, the women’s basketball team would like to extend its congratulations towards the women’s rugby team in their silver medal performance at CIS Nationals. Members of the basketball team took great pride in attending the welcoming ceremony last week. “It’s been a source of great inspiration for us to see how hard they fought to get there, it has added another focus to get to that level of toughness,” explained Forand.