Defense, Besselink’s offensive power were the main keys to success for the Gees

The University of Ottawa women’s basketball season came to a surprising close on Feb. 22 on home court against the Western Mustangs.

Despite going into the game as the favourite, the eleventh-ranked Mustangs ousted the sixth-ranked Gee-Gees in the preliminary round of the Critelli Cup playoff. A poor fourth quarter, where the Gees produced only four points, resulted in the end of a solid season for the team.

Although the early exit must be a disappointment for the Garnet and Grey, the team finished with a solid 13–6 regular season record, good enough for second in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) North division.

The Gees came out of the gates strong with three straight wins to start the young season, before they suffered a setback against the now nationally second-ranked McMaster Marauders. The Gees reeled off two more three-game win streaks over the course of the season, and only lost back to back games on one occasion.

Their two games against the rivals from across the canal, the Carleton Ravens, definitely stung the most among their six losses on the season.

Julia Soriano’s absence of nine games due to injury in the middle of the season was a hard pill for the team to swallow. The fifth-year senior was penned in as their starting point guard from the get go, and with her on the bench the Gees’ depth was constantly tested.

With the absence of their point guard, Sarah Besselink was called on to step up, and she did just that. This season she finished with a career-high 13.8 points per game (PPG) and 6.2 rebounds per game to lead her club. The fourth-year guard was called on again and again to hit shots for the Gees, and she did a great job of doing so all year.

Freshman guard Amelie Hachey was tied for second in scoring per game with a 6.8 PPG, despite only averaging 16.4 minutes a game and not taking a single free-throw attempt all season.

As a team, both the free-throw line and the three-point line hurt the Gees this season. The University of Ottawa ranked in the bottom half in both charity stripe makes and shots from behind the arc.

The Gees’ biggest strength was their defensive play. They ranked second overall in the OUA in points allowed per game, giving up an average of only 54.2 PPG.

The Gees will be without at least three major pieces of the puzzle next year, as fifth-years Melina Wishart, Julia Soriano, and Katherine Lemoine are all graduating from the Garnet and Grey.

The Gees have a fairly young team, with 14 players having the possibility to return next year. Until then, head coach Andy Sparks will be tasked with filling the big holes that the three seniors have left for the upcoming year.