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Women’s basketball: on the up and up, a season wrap-up

Monday March 21, 2011

Women’s Basketball (14-8 OUA, 2-2 playoffs)

It was an early ending to what could have been a promising season for a young Gee-Gees team. After improving to a 14-8 regular season record, the Gee-Gees went 2-2 in the playoffs and finished a disappointing sixth place in the OUA to close the 2010-2011 season.

“It reached conclusion it looked like it might reach,” commented head coach Andy Sparks on the season, “We were so up and down all year and didn’t have consistency required to make a run at end of the year.”

“We needed our first years to not play like first years, and that’s a lot to ask from that group,” said Sparks on his team’s playoff run, “It was a long haul to get to point where we hoped we could do something special. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Looking back on the season, it was an uphill battle for the Gee-Gees. “We had four new starters, with only Hannah a returning starter,” said Sparks. Many members of the team, including multiple veterans, were sidelined for the opening months of the season with sickness and injury. The Gee-Gees were forced to play with a very short bench and largely depend on their rookies for the first half of the season.

“I think the understanding they’ve picked up of what’s required, physically and mentally, will help them next year,” said Sparks on all the playing time and experience gained by the rookies this year while highlighting the strong athletic ability of the current team. “What we went through this year will toughen up players who went through it this year, and bring that information to new players.”

Sparksnoted the challenge faced by third-year centre Jenna Gilbert,Ottawa, Ont., as she made the much anticipated transition to the Gee-Gees squad after transferring at the end of 2009, but having to wait a year before she was eligible to dress. Gilbert struggled with consistency this season, but Sparks is excited about her bigger role and contribution in the future. Gilbert was named as an OUA second team all-star.

When asked to highlight the performance of a few key players, Sparks was quick to mention fourth-year centre Hannah Sunley-Paisley, Toronto, Ont. Sunley-Paisley was named OUA East Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, finishing fifth in the OUA in scoring (15.91), first in rebounding (11.50), sixth in free goal percentage (49.5%). “She was our consistent players,” said Sparks, “She comes to win every game and the effort level is pretty consistent and her teammates feed off that effort level.”

First-year guard Kim Cupid, Toronto, Ont., was also one of the many bright lights in the Gee-Gees rookies this year. Named an OUA rookie all-star and runner up for defensive player of the year, Cupid made her mark on the court for the garnet and grey. “Kim was a major contributor over the course of the year [and she had] an outstanding year for a first-year player.”

Sparksalso noted the improvement and contributions of first-year guard Tatiana Hanlan, Gatineau, Qué., this season. First-year guard Sarah Nolette, Edmonton, Alta., was awarded with the Tracy McLeod Award in the OUA East for her determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit.

But with one season ending, it quickly becomes time to look to the next year’s season. With only one graduating player, fourth-year education student Alexandra Roy, Montreal, Qué., the Gee-Gees recruiting for the 2011-2012 season is in full swing and Sparks is very excited about the many new players joining the team. The Gee-Gees will be looking to increase their height on the court with new recruits next year, as this was one area the team lacked in this year and their opposition capitalized on.

“We’re in pretty good shape after going 14-8 this year,” concluded Sparks, “And everyone can look forward to women’s basketball next year.” Continue to stay tuned to for upcoming women’s basketball recruiting news.