Women lose division final to York

Basketball team ‘shocked everybody,’ coach says

The Gaels couldn’t overcome the York Lions, losing the East Division final in Toronto.
The Gaels couldn’t overcome the York Lions, losing the East Division final in Toronto.
Supplied photo by Tom Barnett / The Excalibur

In a season where no one expected much, the women’s basketball team showed they had a few tricks up their sleeves.

“Most people didn’t have us finishing above .500,” head coach Dave Wilson said. “I think to finish second in the division shocked everybody. And especially to make it to the division final shocked everybody.” The women ended their successful season last week with loss in the East Division final
to York University, ranked sixth in the country. After receiving a bye through the quarter-final, the team faced off against the Laurentian Voyageurs at home last Wednesday in the semifinal.

“We had a hell of a game against Laurentian,” Wilson said. “It was a tough match-up. [In the regular
season] we beat them in overtime here and went up there and lost by one.” The score remained tight
throughout, but with three minutes to go, Queen’s nailed three straight three-pointers—two by Sarah Barnes and one by Claire Meadows—for a 9-0 run. Laurentian couldn’t catch up, and the game ended with Queen’s winning 64-58. “We had a strong game. It was a close game all the way through, and we had some key shots that we hit at the end,” captain Claire Meadows said.

The team then traveled to Toronto to face the division-leading York Lions in the East final.

“They came on the opening tip and smothered us,” Wilson said. “We never got on track. The result was a 65-41 loss, eliminating the Gaels from the playoffs. Wilson said he was happy with his team’s overall performance this year.

“It’s a funny thing about expectations. You always expect to make a successful run [in the season]. We exceeded our expectations [but] we still had greater expectations when we figured out our trengths,” he said. Meadows said she, too, was pleased with the season.

“The bye was huge for us. It was one of our goals,” she said. Although some players are unsure about their future with the team, Wilson said fifth-year player Meadows will definitely be missed. “Meadows leads us in almost everything on and off the court. She was an outstanding leader andshe set the tone as to how the team was going to operate.” Meadows said she knew it was important for her to take on a leadership role in her fifth year. “I just try and use my experience and help it rub off on my teammates. I learned a lot in the past five years and I just tried to keep growing as a player,” she said.

The team could potentially lose its three top scorers for next season. Meadows will leave for sure, but both Barnes and Jessica Selinger have a year of eligibility left. If we lose all three that’s a lot of scoring. … If we get a few kids back we will [have a] smooth transition.”

Wilson said he’s also happy about the progress of his younger players. “Erin Skippon began to show
her potential later on in the season. … Maddie Soye had an up and down year but showed glimpses of what she is capable of,” he said. “As well, Teddi Firmi made huge strides. … She ran our offence.” He said he’s looking forward to next year and a team that should be loaded with talent.

“We have some talented rookies that are coming in,” he said. “It will improve our athleticism and we will continue on our successful path. We have been one of the most consistent teams in the league in he last 18 or 19 years.”

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