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Photo: Rémi Yuan

Julia Soriano dazzles as ninth-ranked Gees down Ravens

In the latest matchup on Jan. 16, the Gee-Gees women’s basketball team overpowered the more physically imposing Carleton Ravens for a 69-56 win. The Gee-Gees improved their record to 7-1 on the season and are proving game-by-game that they are among the nation’s elite.

The rivalry between the Gee-Gees and Ravens women’s basketball teams is mostly a product of proximity rather than emotional and physical battle.

On the men’s side of the ball, things are very different—for the last handful of years, when the women play the Gee-Gees are the favourite just about every time.

This year was no exception as the women’s team entered the game fresh from a return to the Top 10 rankings, beginning the new semester ranked ninth in the nation.

Fourth-year point guard Julia Soriano turned in a career-defining performance to ensure the win. Soriano is likely the smallest person on the court at any given time, however she might have the most tenacity of anyone playing that day.

Always fearless and attacking, the Gee-Gees’ slight leader poured in 23 points and snapped up three steals in the win. At times, she took over the game, with quick dribble-drive slashes to the hoop leaving defenders reaching as she laid the ball in.

Soriano’s running mate Kellie Ring also booked a dominant performance, as per usual, stuffing the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. However, rather than acknowledging her own performance, she made sure to give Soriano the praise.

“Julia Soriano was just incredible for us,” said the fifth-year veteran Ring. “We play tough and I think that was the key to the game.”

Carleton managed to make the game interesting early in the fourth quarter, but the closing ability of the Gees’ was on display as they continued to pour it on until the final buzzer.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year so we’re trying to get our pieces together,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “These kind of games are really important for that, this is a midseason game, a lot of stuff is going to happen between now and the end of the year… we just have to try to get better every game.”

With the Gee-Gees downing big teams, there is a rising sense of legitimacy with the team and the national rankings are reflecting that. The team will likely see a rise in this week’s polls but, for the coaches and players, where they are is not going to cut it.

“Being ranked is good, but top eight teams go to nationals, ninth is not good enough,” said Ring.

The Gee-Gees will continue their pursuit to nationals on Jan. 22 and 23 with an easier test against the Toronto Varsity Blues, followed by a true gauging of power against the second-ranked team in Canada, the Ryerson Rams.