Gaels thump Paladins in women’s opener

Queen’s defeats RMC 88-54 on Pink Ribbon Night

Queen’s guard Lyndsey Gauley drives against RMC Friday.
Queen’s guard Lyndsey Gauley drives against RMC Friday.

The Gaels continued a winning tradition Friday night at Bartlett Gym as the women’s basketball team began their regular season with an 88-54 defeat of the Royal Military College Paladins. It was the seventh straight win for Queen’s in the seven times they’ve played against RMC since the Paladins joined the league in 2003.

It was a different-looking Gaels’ lineup that took the floor, as fifth-year co-captains Sarah Barnes and Jessica Selinger were both absent. Barnes was away attending a mandatory academic conference, while Selinger and second–year post Erin Skippon were both sidelined with injuries.

New faces stepped up to fill the void, however. Third-year post Amanda Northcott led Queen’s in scoring with 18 points, while fourth-year post Anne Murphy added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Gaels’ rookies Christine Wallace and Alaina Porter also chipped in, recording 14 and 11 points respectively.

Head coach Dave Wilson said he wasn’t entirely pleased with the team’s performance.

“It’s a mixed bag,” he said. “There were points in the game where we played well, and there were other times in the game where I thought we were very sloppy and just not very focused . Today’s lineup was a young team because we’re missing three veterans, so those things, you can expect them, but I still don’t want them to happen.”

The Gaels came flying out of the gate and took an early 20-6 lead courtesy of some strong shooting by Murphy, Wallace and guard Jaime Dale. Queen’s took a 46-30 lead into the half-time break.

Queen’s put up a 30-point lead by the end of the third quarter and cruised to a final 34-point victory. Wilson gave his substitutes significant playing time throughout the night, but they built on the starters’ strong performance and never allowed the Paladins back into the game.

Wilson said the team’s depth will be a key asset this season.

“It’s critical for us in terms of what we’re trying to do this year in going to a much higher-pressure style of defence,” he said. “We needed to be able to play more players. We felt that the kids we recruited this year were all capable of coming in and playing, and they showed a bit of that today.” This year’s team faces one significant loss from last year’s squad, with the graduation of OUA first-team all-star Claire Meadows. But Wilson said the new depth and the high-pressure system it allows them to play should compensate for the loss.

“I think we’re more athletic one through 12 now than we were a year ago,” he said.

Northcott, who returns to the team after sitting out last year, said she’s excited to be back.

“It feels great, I really like it,” she said. “I really missed the girls, so it feels good to play again.”

The game was important for the Gaels in more ways than one, as it was designated as Pink Ribbon Night as part of an national initiative between the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association and the CIS to raise money for breast cancer research. All gate receipts were donated to the cause, and the women’s basketball program chipped in a dollar for each point scored by either team.

Dale said she enjoyed taking part in the fundraiser.

“It was awesome,” she said. “I know a lot of people on the team have connections to cancer, so I feel like it’s good to be able to help out in any way I can.”

The Gaels continued the weekend with two final exhibition games. They lost 57-53 to the Université du Québec à Montréal on Saturday, but beat the Concordia Stingers 77-69 Sunday night.

The women’s next regular season matches will be tonight and tomorrow, when they host the Brock Badgers and the Guelph Gryphons. Both games will be at 6 p.m. in Bartlett Gym.

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