Sports

The Gee-Gees nevertheless will compete for the national prize. Photo: Parker Townes.

U of O will look to bounce back next week as they head to nationals

The U of O women’s basketball team took on the McMaster Marauders in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s basketball championship game on Saturday, March 2 at Montpetit Hall in front of a nearly sold-out crowd.

This marked the third time a women’s varsity team reached their conference championship game this year for the U of O. Andy Sparks’ team aimed to become the third to lift their respective league’s championship trophy after both the women’s soccer and rugby team did back in November.

Sadly for the Gee-Gees, McMaster would have the upper hand, capitalizing on most of their chances on the afternoon and beating the U of O with their speed. The final score would be 79-75.

Angela Ribarich and Sarah Besselink both collected 20 points in the losing effort. For the Marauders, Hilary Hanaka had 22 points while Sarah Gates had 20 to push their team over the Gees.

For the U of O though, this game was seen as more of a bump in the road on the way to the U Sports national championship.

After the game, Andy Sparks talked about how his team would use this game to motivate themselves for next week’s game.

“If watching Mac win here on home court doesn’t motivate us, I don’t know what will,” Sparks said. “I thought it was a great women’s university basketball game—if we played like this we’d be packing the building every night, and will do good in the nationals.”

Photo: Parker Townes.

As for his team’s preparation for nationals, Sparks didn’t seem sure how he’d get back in the rhythm of things after the game.

“I may or may not give them the day off tomorrow, then we’ll see. But we have a couple things we’ve got to work on before we head to Toronto,’’ Sparks said.

In spite of her strong performance, centre Ribarich didn’t speak of her personal performance —preferring to discuss how they would seek revenge next week after losing on home court.

“We’re going to see this team again. We don’t take this lightly—we’re going to use this as motivation,” Ribarich said. “As we were lining up to watch the celebration, Coach told us all to remember this and not let it happen again.”

The Gee-Gees will be back in action on Thursday, March 7 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, when they play their first game at the U Sports national tournament. It is unknown what rank the Gees will occupy coming into the eight-team tournament.