Angela Ribarich drops 18 to help Gee-Gees top Ravens 57-48
The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team was back in action on Saturday night after sitting out the first round of the OUA playoffs with a bye. At home in Montpetit Hall, the University of Ottawa welcomed the Carleton Ravens for their third meeting of the season.
In December, the Gee-Gees beat Carleton at the Ravens Nest 66-49. On a bigger stage, the Gees orchestrated a thrilling comeback to win the Capital Hoops Classic 77-75. On Saturday night, the Gees looked to repeat their streak of wins to earn a place in the semifinals.
“They’re like our next-door neighbours, we know them like the back of our hand. To be able to play them three games is kind of fun and kind of challenging,” said Gee-Gees centre Angela Ribarich. “We get to know their weaknesses and their strengths, but they know ours as well, it’s about who’s going to dig deeper.”
Katherine Follis won the tip-off for the Gee-Gees, allowing the garnet and grey to set up their offence first. Picking up the offensive rebound and putting it back up into the net, Follis was the first to put points on the board.
Carleton answered quickly, and the teams exchanged points throughout the quarter. A three pointer by Tyra Blizzard started a run for Ottawa. For the final three minutes of the quarter, the Gee-Gees had completely stopped the Ravens from scoring while running out to a five-point lead.
After the opening 10 minutes of play, the Gee-Gees lead 16-11.
Carleton quickly closed the gap, with Kali Pocrnic, Tatyanna Burke, and Emma Kiesekamp helping the Ravens tie up the game at 18.
A fadeaway in the paint by Madison Reid put the Ravens ahead, but Ribarich used her height to find the basket to tie things up once more.
In the second quarter, the Gee-Gees were outscored and trailed 26-24 going into halftime.
Starting with possession of the ball in the third frame, Burke put up an easy basket for the Ravens.
Moments later, Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus ran up the floor and an unfriendly bounce off the rim after a heavily contested layup turned into two points for the Gee-Gees thanks to a great rebound by Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu.
McAlear-Fanus drove into the paint again, this time kicking the ball out to Natsuki Szczokin for a three-pointer to make the score 33-30 in favour of Ottawa.
Even as the Gee-Gees strung together some points, the Ravens never let the game get away from them. In the final minute of the third quarter, Carleton put together a six-point run to end the quarter up 39-38.
With only 10 minutes left to play, the Gees needed to pull ahead in order to keep their season alive.
Driving down the baseline, McAlear-Fanus bounced the ball into the hands of Ribarich for the basket, earning one of her nine assists on the night. On their next possession, McAlear-Fanus put up a three-pointer to make it 43-39 for the Gees.
Szczokin found a clear lane and drove it in, extending Ottawa’s lead to 47-39. Six minutes into the quarter, Carleton had yet to find the basket.
At this point, it was clear that the Ravens had slowed down. With only two minutes remaining, a pair of baskets by Ribarich made it 55-43 for the Gee-Gees.
Carleton gave it one last push, but could not claw their way back in the game.
The Gee-Gees won 57-48, earning themselves a place in the OUA semifinals on Wednesday night, where they will match up with the Ryerson Rams.
Ottawa and Ryerson have met once this season, with the Gee-Gees pulling off a 74-72 victory over the Rams.
“They’re a team that is similar to us, they have similar personnel and love to run transition,” Ribarich said about the Gees’ next opponent. “They have similar strengths and weaknesses as us, so it’s going to be about who’s going to exploit them more, or who’s going to play to their strengths more.”
The Gee-Gees and Rams will play on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Montpetit Hall.