Playoff monkey gone

First-round triumph a bright spot in injury-riddled season

Wing Jenny Wright averaged 12.2 points per game in her second OUA season.
Wing Jenny Wright averaged 12.2 points per game in her second OUA season.
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Women’s basketball stumbled down the stretch, but made up for it in the first round of the playoffs.

Their first-round victory was a milestone result.

The Gaels won just once in their final eight games, ending a losing season at 7-13. Their record placed them fifth in the OUA East, good for a playoff rematch against the Ryerson Rams.

After two consecutive first-round playoff exits at the hands of the Rams, the Gaels finally exacted revenge by pulling off an 86-64 upset.

The first-round win was Queen’s first in over five years, ending head coach Dave Wilson’s career-long playoff slump.

The Gaels fell 72-44 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in their semifinal matchup, losing handily to a depleted lineup.

Early in the season, the Gaels’ wins were convincing and their losses were close. The performance of their core players and serviceable rookies early on was cause for optimism going forward.

The early success didn’t last, as a chain of injuries derailed Queen’s season in the new year.

After missing all of 2011-12 with an ACL tear, second-year wing Gemma Bullard suffered another season-ending knee injury, as did third-year guard Meaghan McDougall. Leading scorer Liz Boag missed a crucial stretch of games in January.

For the entire second half of the season, injuries kept the Gaels’ original starting five from playing together. Their lowest point came in early February against the Gee-Gees and the Carleton Ravens, when three rookies were inserted into the starting lineup. The Gaels’ slew of injuries allowed their top rookies to play valuable minutes, including guard Emily Hazlett and post Nicole Morse. Their early exposure to the pace and physicality of the OUA will better prepare them for next season, when they’ll play larger roles.

Advancing to the OUA East semi-finals is a large accomplishment for the young team. With six first-year players and only two set to graduate, they’re poised to make a deeper playoff run next season.

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