Close call in capital

Women’s basketball nearly upsets Carleton Ravens in overtime loss

An Ottawa road trip can be a headache for any team in the OUA. The Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton Ravens are at the top of the OUA East in women’s basketball, third and first respectively, and the Ravens are ranked sixth in the nation. The Gaels opened the weekend with a 65-47 loss against the Gee-Gees. With the team riding a five-game losing streak, Queen’s grabbed one point from the weekend after a hard-fought 66-65 overtime loss to the Ravens.

The Gaels’ current 3-13 record is in stark contrast to last year’s season. At the end of January, the Gaels were at a comfortable 13-6 last season. Their losing record doesn’t indicate the work and effort of the team who have lost eight of their 13 games by only 10 points or less. With season-ending injuries and a large rookie presence, the Gaels have been led by veteran guard Brittany Moore who has continued to perform.

The Carleton loss was another disappointment in the Gaels’ season. Head coach Dave Wilson said that as a group, the players are not used to losing but have managed to overcome tough losses this season.

“This group has been extremely resilient,” he said. “The rookies have come from winning programs. Our veterans, last year we finished in third place. None of them are accustomed to this.”

The Gee-Gees built a substantial lead in the first half as the Gaels were unable to hold off Ottawa’s offence. Queen’s went into the second half down 30-18. The Gaels tried to regain control of the game in the third quarter when they matched the Gee-Gees for 17 points, but it was too little, too late with Ottawa beating Queen’s 65-47.

“We were very flat against Ottawa,” Wilson said. “We don’t know why at times we’re coming out this flat and not playing our best basketball. [We] put ourselves in a hole right off the bat and can’t seem to find our way to get out of it.”

The Gaels controlled the Ravens play to start the game, outscoring them by three at the half. Wilson said the Gaels’ play to open the game set a standard for the rest of the game.

“How we came out to start the game was totally different,” he said. “There was energy … There has never been a lack of effort on our team but the energy just wasn’t there on Friday. Saturday the energy was there, the focus was there, the concentration was there that allowed them to play some pretty good basketball.”

Queen’s was able to maintain their play through the second half, which Wilson said was due to being individually matched to the Carleton team. The Gaels forced overtime after to succeed on the power play, finishing 1-for-14 over the weekend as they simply couldn’t overcome the Nipissing penalty kill.

“They did a good job of pressuring us,” Lawrance said. “We had trouble getting setup in the zone. They [also] had two good goalies that made saves for them. We had the chances but we just couldn’t capitalize.”

The team was also notably outshot in both affairs with the shot totals going 39-27 and 38-29 both in favour of Nipissing. Gaels forward Jordan Mirwaldt said the offensive pressure was to be expected.

“They’re a run and gun team,” he said. “They’re really offensive. They have a lot of weapons and they move the puck well.”

The barrage of shots put the Gaels goaltenders to the test. David Aime and Steele De Fazio weathered the storm by stopping a combined 69 of 77 shots. While De Fazio did give up five goals in Friday’s effort, head coach Brett Gibson felt that he was largely responsible for keeping the margin of loss tolerable.

“If it wasn’t for Steele [De Fazio] it could have been much worse,” he said.

Injuries were once again a factor for the Gaels this weekend. The glaring hole in the lineup was the absence of forward Payton Liske. Liske was forced to sit out once again because of a nagging ankle injury that bothered him in the first half of the season. After the break he appeared recovered particularly after a six point stretch in two games against Toronto and RMC. His 1.07 points per game average is the highest on the team.

The Gaels are beset by several other injuries as well. Along with Liske, the team has six players—David Chubb, David Fitzpatrick, Robert Stellick, Brandon Perry and Brock Ouellet—who have been struggling with injuries this season. Gibson said that if the team could just get healthy for the postseason the Gaels would have a big advantage.

“If we ever get a full lineup we are going to be a really dangerous team,” he said. “I haven’t had a full lineup all season. Teams wouldn’t know how to scout us.” Despite two losses, Gibson said he doesn’t see the past weekend as a speed bump in any sense.

“[We are] 5-3-1 in the last ten, one bad game doesn’t make a streak,” he said. “Going six hours to play the second place team up north and getting one point is not hitting a wall by any means. Four games left in the Kingston, we can end up over .500, and with all of the injuries we’ve had it would be a great season. We’d be on a high note going into the playoffs.”

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