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Recruiting update: women’s basketball

Tuesday May 21, 2013

Women’s basketball is welcoming nine new recruits and transfers for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. After losing seniors Jenna Gilbert, Alyska Lukan and Katye Chase, as well as Ariane Lachance-Scantland, Sarah Nolette, and Tatiana Hanlan due to other commitments, the Gee-Gees will be a very young team led by experienced transfer Angela Tilk and returning third years Maddie Stephen and Kellie Ring. 

Angela Tilk is a transfer student from Ryerson University and will be doing her Master’s program at the University of Ottawa in Public and International Affairs. With one year of eligibility remaining, Tilk will be eligible to play come season opener in November. The veteran post player tore her Achilles tendon at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season with Ryerson, forcing her to miss the entire year.

Not having planned on pursuing a master’s prior to her injury, Tilk’s decision-making process to do so was extremely consuming. However, her passion for basketball was the ultimate reason. “The desire I had to complete my eligibility gave me a chance to further my education and to get to play basketball while doing it,” she explains. 

The major criteria for Tilk’s decision were the academic program, the location, and the basketball culture. “For me, Ottawa offered the most for each of those three,” Angela comments. “The program was the one I was most interested in, the city of Ottawa has always been one of my favourite places especially for basketball, and the athletics program really speaks for itself.”

Having played in the CIS for four years as a post player and observing last year on the sidelines, Tilk will bring experience, leadership and hard work to the Gee-Gees roster. “This past year has allowed me to really grow mentally as a basketball player and I hope I can just help out wherever is necessary,” says Tilk. “I’m just happy to be a part of it and to bring to the table what I can.”

Charlotte MacKenzie is another player transferring from the University of Calgary. Having attended Ashbury College throughout high school and then the University of Ottawa from 2009-2010, MacKenzie is no stranger to Ottawa and coach Andy Sparks. She transferred to Calgary in 2011-2012, but will be returning to her hometown of Ottawa for the 2013-2014 season, eligible in December.

Having been coached by Sparks throughout high school, MacKenzie was sure of her decision to come back to the Gee-Gees program for her last three years of eligibility. “I wanted to come back to Ottawa this year in order to play basketball for Mr. Sparks,” says MacKenzie.  

Although none of the players from her 2009-2010 season as a Gee-Gee remain, Mackenzie has had the opportunity to meet most of the current players throughout the course of the year.

“I believe that my work ethic and a matured selfless character will complement the team dynamic,” expresses MacKenzie. The five-foot-eleven guard/forward combo will bring intensity, competitiveness and passion to the 2013-2014 roster.

For MacKenzie, there is no place like home. “Ottawa has and will always be home. My past two years in Calgary were amazing. I had the privilege of meeting many amazing people and forming life-long friendships,” she continues, “At the end of the day, accomplishing my goals in basketball is a huge dream of mine, and the system of the game that I aspire to be a part of is the system run by Coach Sparks.”

At the top of the 2013 recruiting class, Danielle Marion has made the decision to attend the University of Ottawa after having many schools approach her. Marion, a 5-11 athletic passer, attacker and defensive stopper, hails from Welland, Ontario where she played for Confederation High School as well as Niagara in the Junior Elite League of Ontario. Starting at guard for Team Ontario in 2012, Marion is expected to make a positive impact on the Gee-Gees in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

Having family presently and previously attend the University of Ottawa was a bonus for Marion. Her father graduated from Law School, and her sister, Nicole, currently attends the University.

Bilingualism also played a major role in Marion’s decision to become a Gee-Gee. “I decided I wanted to carry on with my French studies [in Health Sciences]. My parents have always encouraged the importance of being bilingual so it made the choice much easier and they felt Ottawa was the right fit,” says Marion. Another factor that played a role was the city life. “Having come from a smaller town, I wanted to have a different experience.”

Known for her defensive intensity, her speed, work ethic and competitiveness, there is no secret that Marion is a perfect fit for the women’s basketball program.

Other recruits who have committed to University of Ottawa include Sarah Besselink, a five-foot-eleven shooting guard from Kingston, Ontario; Sophie Bruyere, a five-foot-ten tough guard/forward combo from Cornwall, Ontario; Kellie Forand, a five-foot-seven hard working guard from Gatineau, Quebec; Courtney McPherson, a five-foot-eleven post from Niagara; Nicole Marion from Welland, Ontario; Claire Abbotttransferring from Carleton University and Faith Atwell from Ottawa.

The team is expecting to host pre-season games against NCAA competition, which will be the first opportunity to see the new recruits.