Women’s basketball prolonged their hot streak with a pair of home wins against northern Ontario opponents.
Queen’s topped the Nipissing Lakers 90-34 on Friday, in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. The Gaels followed that up with an 89-62 victory over the Laurentian Lady Vees the next night.
Gaels head coach Dave Wilson said the high offensive totals in the wins were important for a team that’s had difficulties posting points.
“We’ve been struggling with our finishing, with our scoring over the past year,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to find a way to get out of that funk and these games allowed us the opportunity to get a lot of good looks at the rim and start to finish. Our shooting percentage was right where it needed to be.”
The 90 points scored against Nipissing (0-8) — a newcomer to the OUA this season — was the program’s largest output since a 92-70 victory over the Waterloo Warriors in November 2012.
Wilson said the Gaels (6-3) struggled early in the game, giving up 13 points in the opening quarter before buckling down on the defensive end to stymie the Lakers. As the Gaels pulled away in the remainder of the contest, this allowed their depth players extra playing time.
“It’s really important. I mean we haven’t had a healthy roster all season long — since mid-October — and we still have one of our starters out of the lineup,” Wilson said. “Being able to get valuable minutes down the line of the bench just means those people are better prepared to play when the situation arises.”
One of the players who benefitted from the extra playing time was rookie Maddie Morris, who posted a season-high 12 points against the Lakers. Jenny Wright led the Gaels with 15 points on the night.
The contest was also Queen’s annual “Shoot for the Cure” game in support of breast cancer research. Five players cut their hair in support of the cause and the Gaels raised over $3,100.
One key for the Gaels this weekend was ensuring they maintained their focus after building large leads. While they were able to do this against Nipissing, they couldn’t keep it up when facing Laurentian.
Through three quarters, Queen’s held a 74-36 lead over the Lady Vees (4-5), but surrendered 26 points in the fourth, narrowing their margin of victory to 27.
“We played very, very good basketball in the first half against Laurentian, but then had trouble maintaining our focus in the second half,” Wilson said. “Partially that’s a maturity thing, partially that’s being in that experience and playing through that.
“Hopefully, we learn from that experience — that you have to find a way to stay focused and not rest when you have a lead.”
Guard Liz Boag returned over the weekend after sitting out the last games before the holiday break with an injury. She struggled slightly against Nipissing, but found her form against the Lady Vees, leading the Gaels with 19 points.
“Liz, no question about it, is our floor general,” Wilson said. “She brings whatever we happen to need on a given night. So one day she’ll be the scorer and the next day she’ll be the distributor.”
The Gaels have won four straight games and will try to keep the streak active on the road on Saturday. They’ll face the OUA East cellar-dwelling York Lions (2-7).
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