With the playoff run over, Gee-Gees still have work to do moving forward

After losing a heartbreaking game against the McMaster Marauders by a score of 47-46 on Feb. 28, the Gee-Gees Women’s Basketball season has come to a brutal end. The Marauders’ final basket came with eight seconds remaining, and Ottawa will now have to wait all summer to get a chance at advancing farther in the playoffs.

Overall, the Garnet and Grey’s year looked quite decent, with their 15-8 record through 23 games. Their 30 points were good for third place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA)’s East division, right behind the Carleton Ravens and the Queen’s Golden Gaels, who ended first and second, respectively.

The season kicked off in November with a win at home against the Algoma Thunderbirds. It then became a series of ups and downs for Ottawa with winning and losing streaks for most of the season, effectively ending it with 15 wins and eight losses. However, the two toughest losses undoubtedly came against their cross-town arch-rivals Ravens, on the road in November and at the Canadian Tire Centre in February.

The Gee-Gees came into the playoffs having won three of their last four games in the season, as they started off by facing the Toronto Varsity Blues in the first round. After getting the best of the Blues at home by a score of 73-50, the Gees went on to meet the Golden Gaels in the quarter finals. Although Queen’s ended the season higher than their opponent in regular season standings, the Gee-Gees once again came out victorious, this time by a tighter score of 74-63.

The semi-final matchup against McMaster, which took place in the team’s home city of Hamilton, looked to be promising, given that the two teams had a 10-point difference in the standings. However in this game the Marauders got the last word over the Gee-Gees, with a tight score of 47-46.

As the game was winding down, with the Gees up 46-45, Ottawa native Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus’ foul gave the Marauders two free-throws with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The home team converted on both, putting a harsh end to their season on the road.

The season’s scoring title was won by forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okakwu, who ended the season with a total of 259 points, 142 rebounds, and 20 assists. She, along with her teammate Amélie Hachey, who finished second with 243 points, mentioned that their great performances this year were due to the consistency of their teammates. “We wouldn’t have been able to score that many points without them. They all contributed in us earning a successful season this year,” said Hachey.

“I think what hurt us the most this year is the beginning of our season. We lost games we should not have,” said Hachey. “At the same time, I think we learned from those losses we had in the early season and it gave us an opportunity to regroup and improve as time went on.”

The players agree they should work on familiarizing themselves with their roles for next season, knowing what they each should work on and move forward from there. “Trusting each other is definitely an asset,” Lefebvre-Okankwu said.

This summer will see plenty of practice and hopefully more improvement for the Gee-Gees, as the players will be looking to build on and learn from this season’s mistakes if they want to go even farther next year.