Besselink, strong defensive play continues to be driving force for the team
The University of Ottawa women’s basketball team split a two-game series against two Ontario University Athletics rivals, the York University Lions and the Queen’s University Golden Gaels on Feb. 10 and 11, respectively.
The Garnet and Grey pulled out a tight, hard-fought 62–54 victory on Feb. 10, with help from a great second quarter on the defensive side of the ball.
A tight first quarter saw the Gees trail from start to finish, although they never let the York Lions’ lead grow past six points. Julia Soriano hit a nice jumper just before the end of the quarter to trim the York advantage to 15–14.
Head coach Andy Sparks’ team came into the second quarter with a real defensive swagger, allowing the Lions to only score five points. The Gees forced five turnovers in the frame and got a huge boost from Sarah Besselink, who scored eight points in the second half of the period.
At the half, the U of O held a 29–20 lead, with great work on the defensive end.
Julia Dostaler scored at 3:05 of the third quarter to get the Gees lead to 41–30, their first double digit lead of the game. Jennifer Crowe converted a basket with 57 seconds left to close out the quarter and give the U of O a 46–36 lead.
The Lions reduced their deficit to five points at the eight-minute mark of the game, but that was as close as they would get. Soriano hit a three-pointer with 3:05 to go to ultimately put the game to bed.
The Gees took the game 62–54, despite shooting a poor 33.3 per cent from the field and 25 per cent from behind the arc. Defense was key for the Gees, who forced an impressive 28 turnovers and converted on 25 points off the Lions’ miscues.
Veterans Besselink and Soriano combined for 25 points to propel their team on the offensive end.
In their second contest in as many days, the Gees took on the nationally third-ranked, and undefeated, Queen’s University Golden Gaels and gave them a tight game for three quarters, before ultimately losing 55–44.
The first quarter saw the Gaels lead from start to finish, going up 12–3 by the 5:01 mark of the period. An Isabelle Dion basket cut the lead to 14–9 with 27 seconds left in the frame, and that’s where the score stood going into the second quarter.
In the second quarter the Gees showed that they could play with the Gaels. The U of O tied Queen’s on two occasions, but couldn’t manage to take the lead. Marianne Alarie scored ten points in the quarter for the Gaels, who led 30–25 at half.
In the second half, the Gees made it a one-point game off a basket from Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus with eight minutes to play in the quarter, but again couldn’t get ahead. The Gaels took a 42–37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The final period showed why the Gaels are nationally ranked third, as they played tight defense to limit the Gees to seven points on the offensive end. The Gees had five turnovers in the quarter and 16 on the game, which Queen’s converted into 17 points.
The Gaels took the game by a final score of 55–44. The Gees’ woes from beyond the three-point arc were showcased all game as they only converted on one of ten attempts.
Besselink lead the Gees with 13 points, and was the only player on her team to be in double figures.
The Gees’ final two home games will take place on Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18 at Montpetit Hall against the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, respectively. Tickets can be purchased from the Gee-Gees’ website.