Sports

Women’s basketball team wins Capital Hoops Classic

FOR THE LAST five years the Carleton University Ravens (8-5) have won the prestigious title of Capital Hoops Classic victor. But tonight, it was the Gee-Gees’ turn.

To the sounds of erupting fans, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (11-2) held on to the ball like their lives depended on it, finishing the 2012 Capital Hoops Classic at Scotiabank Place with a 59-55 winthey continued an 11-game winning streak from their regular season.

 
Gees taking up the challenge against the Ravens

“It’s been five years of me playing on the girls’ team and the first win that we’ve had. It’s nice to do that on my last year and finally get a win,” said fifth-year centre Hannah Sunley-Paisley of the annual matchup.

p against the Ravens. Hopefully we can keep our run going. Right now we have 11 winning streaks and it’s nice to keep it going.”

Everyone was ecstatic about the Gees’ win, but the players and coach agreed that they expected to win by a larger margin.

“It’s funny, because it is a bittersweet kind of win, because we didn’t play our best today and I don’t think Carleton did either,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “It’s a little bit of a case of both teams not allowing the other team to look good. We know what they do and they know what we do and we both take each other out.”

Tip off brought the Gees down the court with speed and aggression, but it was the Carleton Ravens that scored the first points of the evening. Moving quickly, the Ravens took the lead 2-1 within the first few minutes of the game. The Gees reacted defensively, blocking the Raven’s constant attack and giving fifth-year centre Bess Lennox two free throws to get the Gees on the board.

Head coach Andy Sparks looks to the court

Fifth-year point guard Teddi Firmi followed suit, making a diving shot to tie the score. Sunley-Paisley took many shots in the first quarter, including a solid three-pointer. The Gees continued to force Carleton out of their comfort zone by altering their defensive strategy, moving to full-court pressure that seemed to knock the Ravens from their lead.

“I don’t know if it was jitters, but we didn’t really come to play. I felt it was both teams,” said Sunley-Paisley after the game. “It was just sloppy and slow. It was kind of like, ‘What’s going on? This isn’t a

scrimmage. You know, this is a regular season game!’ It’s [the seventh ranked team and the fourth ranked team] in the country—It should be more fast paced.”

The second quarter saw the Gees and Ravens compete head-to-head in 10 minutes of heavy foul play. Fourth-year forward Jenna Gilbert scored a three-point shot from the outer ring just as the clock ended, bringing the score to 21-20 for the Gees—their first lead of the game.

The Gees maintained that advantage by playing to their speed, passing the ball all the way down the court to score another four points. Lenox added to that score with a backhand layup while second-year guard Sarah Nolette stole the ball from Carleton mid-court for a dive of her own.

Regardless of their efforts, the Gees trailed by three at halftime.

“We struggled a lot on offence,” said Sparks. “It kind of became the case of who was going to get an offence score not who was not going to get a defensive stop, because we pretty much got the defensive stops most of the time.”

With only a single point gained on a free throw in four minutes, things seemed grim, until Sunley-Paisley finished the play with a three-pointer. The Gees finally came ahead with three minutes left on the clock with Firmi bringing the score to 40-37 for the Gees. Unable to maintain the lead, the Gees allowed the Ravens to dominate the ball and finish the quarter with a one point advantage.

The final quarter had everyone on the edge of their seats. With the stakes so high and the scores so close, both teams pushed themselves to their limits. Gilbert scored another three-pointer with a steal assist by rookie point guard Kellie Ring. The score remained 55-55 with two minutes left on the clock, when Gilbert took hold of a free throw rebound taken by Sunley-Paisley for the lead. With the Ravens playing so desperately, the Gees were given numerous free throws that increased their lead to their final, winning score of 59-55.

“We spent the last three days preparing for what they do. I’m sure they did exactly the same thing,” noted Sparks. “The win feels good, but the reality is that we need to play a lot better.”

 

The Gees will host RMC and Queen’s University at Montpetit Hall  on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m.

—Katherine DeClerq