In their home-opening weekend, the men’s and women’s basketball teams put up strong performances.
With victories against the Guelph Gryphons and Algoma Thunderbirds on Friday and Saturday, both teams have experienced encouraging starts to their 2018-19 seasons.
Against Guelph on Friday, the women’s team celebrated a well-earned win.
Despite opening the game slow—the Gryphons kicked off the first quarter on a 10-3 run—the Gaels remained in control for the remainder of the game. Queen’s shot four of 10 from three and scored 12 points off turnovers after the visitor’s hot start in the first frame. They headed into the second quarter carrying a comfortable 20-12 lead.
The Gaels dominated the Gryphons throughout the remainding three quraters, edging their opponent’s on the boards 57 to 33 and limiting them to just 30 per cent shooting from the field. In the fourth quarter, Queen’s defense only let up 8 points.
Of the home side’s notable performances, post Myriam Fontaine hit all four of her shot attempts and free throws during the game. As well, fifth-year guard Marianne Alarie recorded 22 points and made five of her 10 three-point attempts. She currently leads the OUA with 22 points per game.
The Gaels were victorious again on Saturday, dominating Algoma (0-6) 74-37. By halftime, Queen’s led by 28 points.
Head coach Dave Wilson said that Algoma is “a bit of a struggling team” at this point in the season, but still didn’t give full credit to his team for their performance.
“For us, it’s learning to be the best that we can be all the time, and we’re not there yet,” he said. “That’s not surprising, partly with our youth, but partly just getting used to playing [this] way.” Currently, 10 of the Gaels’ 17 players are in their first or second years.
Despite their youth, Wilson said his team has occasionally made inspired choices on the court this season—and sometimes not.
“There were times where I thought we did some really good things, and there were times I thought we were pretty much asleep,” Wilson said.
Up next, the Gaels will host the Laurier Golden Hawks on Nov. 16 for a school-day game, beginning at 1 p.m., followed by a match-up against the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday evening.
The Gaels got off to a quick start on Friday night against the Gryphons, opening their first quarter on a 20-9 run.
Guelph outscored Queen’s in the second quarter, but still went into the half trailing 41-33. The Gaels were then able to lead the majority of the game and win their home-opener 83-64. They out-rebounded the Gryphons—the OUA’s worst defensive team this season—41-33 and shot an efficient 52 per cent from the field.
Following Friday’s win, the Gaels defeated Algoma (1-5) 94-61 on Saturday night, though it didn’t come as easy as it had the night prior.
The first half saw both teams shoot below 40 per cent from the field, with Queen’s heading into the third quarter leading by just two points. Head coach Steph Barrie said his team came out “really flat” in the first half. Algoma hit four of eight threes in the first quarter.
“Defensively, I didn’t think we had good energy, and they capitalized,” he said.
“Our offense was sort of suffering because our defense wasn’t creating enough stops, and we weren’t getting into a good position—we just didn’t have any flow on either side of the ball.”
At halftime, the Gaels were able to shift their focus to stronger defense, Barrie added.
Quinton Gray (middle) had 15 points in the Gaels’ win over Algoma.
“We addressed the defensive urgency, playing with multiple efforts, and making aggressive mistakes. If we’re going to make mistakes […] so be it, but we need to create energy,” he said.
In the third quarter, Queen’s offense took off, opening the second half on a 29-7 run. Led by guard Jaz Bains, who had a game-high 25 points, the Gaels led by as much as 37 in the fourth quarter, cruising their way to a 94-61 victory.
Barrie said the game against Algoma served as a lesson for his team. He noted that with more parity in the OUA, the Gaels can’t expect a win in the last two minutes of a game.
“You’re not going to have a big lead at any point in [those games], so we’re trying to get a mindset that prepares them for that situation.”
—With files from Matt Scace
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