Photo: Parker Townes.
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Ribarich and Lefebvre-Okankwu post double-doubles in the win

The University of Ottawa Women’s Basketball team tipped-off against the 5-14 Laurentian Voyageurs in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) eastern conference play. The Gee-Gees were looking to respond after a recent tough loss to the Carleton Ravens at Capital Hoops Classic.

It was a tight game early on, but Laurentian initially had a 13-10 lead, with 3:43 left to play. Turnovers were hurting the Gees with four giveaways before the end of the first quarter. After going down 16-10, the Garnet and Grey brought the score to 19-17 for the Voyageurs before an open three from Laurentian to make it 22-17 with less than a minute to play. That score would remain, the story of the first 10 minutes was the Gee-Gees’ inability to keep the ball. They gave the ball away five times and Laurentian converted seven points off those turnovers.

Despite having a huge height advantage in the post, the Gees couldn’t generate any offence from that spot in the first minutes of the second quarter. The U of O stuck to their game plan and kept feeding their post players and Lefebvre-Okankwu and Ribarich led the way with 10 and six points respectively to give the Gees a 35-27 lead. That didn’t last long, and Laurentian brought it back to 37-34 with 20 seconds left, the Gees had the last shot of the half at the buzzer, but the three-pointer went long.

Throughout the season, the Gees had great success scoring from inside the arc, shooting 55 per cent, but only converted one of eight attempts from long range in the first half of this game.

The Voyageurs scored the first bucket of third quarter, reducing the Gees’ lead to one point just 36 seconds into the second half. Ultimately, that was as close as Laurentian would get. The Gees kept pulling away. A three-pointer by Amélie Hachey and a mid-range jumper by Isabelle Dion gave the Gees a controlling 58-48 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Ribarich kept up her strong game, collecting an offensive board and finishing in traffic to restore the Garnet and Grey’s advantage at double digits just over a minute into the quarter. The Voyageurs reduced the Gees’ lead to less than 10 points on two occasion in the final frame, but the Gees never let them gain any momentum.

It was a pretty dominant effort for the Gees coming off their loss to the top-ranked Carleton Ravens at Capital Hoops. Using their height in the post and in the paint proved to overwhelm the smaller Laurentian squad. Ribarich recorded a career and game high 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds, Lefebvre-Okankwu also had a double-double to pace the Gees.

The next home game for the Gee-Gees will take place on Feb. 16 against Queen’s University at Montpetit hall, tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.