CIS

Photo: Kim Wiens.

Montpetit Hall to play host to Critelli Cup conference finals

The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team had to grind out a 55-43 win over the Guelph Gryphons to secure their berth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Final Four tournament.

The Gees, who had a stellar 17-2 record in the regular season, hold the number one seed in the OUA, and have earned the advantage of hosting the newly named Critelli Cup Final Four at Montpetit Hall.

In a packed and deafening Montpetit Hall, the Gees were able to vanquish the Gryphons in a hard-fought affair. The game was a test for both teams, and required a tenacious performance by Ottawa to emerge eventual winners.

The Gryphons were playing their first second-round playoff game in eight years after defeating the Brock Badgers in their OUA preliminary round matchup. The team proved why they deserved an appearance at this point in the playoffs, with their defensive effort matching the Gees’ intensity and physicality.

The first quarter was tense as both teams employed tenacious defence, allowing just 10 points combined in the opening frame. The game became scrappy early as both teams threw their bodies at loose balls and hustled for rebounds.

The Gees were fortunate that their 14 turnovers were outnumbered by Guelph’s 18, and the two teams combined for only eight assists the entire game.

The Gees eventually picked up their offensive effort, scoring 16 points in the second quarter and continuing that upward trend for the remainder of the game.

A major strength for the Gee-Gees was their bench contributions as they scored 12 pointsbut more importantlylimited the opposing bench to just one point in the game.

The high scorer for Ottawa was third-year forward Katherine Lemoine, who returned from injury with a 16-point and eight-rebound performance.

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Lemoine pulls down a rebound over a Queen’s player in the first quarter. Photo: Kim Wiens.

The Gees faced a worrisome moment as second-year forward Isabelle Dion went down with an ankle injury midway through the second half, and didn’t return to the game.

After the game, head coach Andy Sparks lamented Dion’s potential absence going forward.

“She had an outstanding first half, she was huge for us,” he said. “She had seven points and was really good defensively, so we’re going to miss her a lot. We’re down like five (players) again, but these kids are working hard, so this is the group.”

Veteran guard/forward Kellie Ring was also instrumental once again for the Gees, posting 13 points and nine rebounds.

“Defensively from start to finish we were pretty good,” said Sparks. “We committed too many fouls… but overall it was a real solid team defensive performance.”

The win means that the Gees will face the McMaster Marauders on March 11. The Gee-Gees squeezed out a 61-60 overtime win over Mac less than a month ago in Hamilton, so a close battle is likely between the teams. An Ottawa win would secure the squad a matchup against the victor of the Windsor versus Ryerson semifinal.

The two finalists will then represent the OUA in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8 National Championship in Fredericton, NB in two weeks time.

Tickets for the Critelli Cup are available at tickets.geegees.ca.