Stopped in their tracks

Lesser clubs gain ground by topping Gaels at ARC

Jenny Wright’s 14 points was the highest among all Gaels in their loss to Toronto.
Jenny Wright’s 14 points was the highest among all Gaels in their loss to Toronto.

Women’s basketball’s five-game winning streak came to a screeching halt at home.

The previously first-place Gaels lost both their games over the weekend: 70-67 to the Ryerson Rams and 70-56 to the Toronto Varsity Blues.

The Rams (4-8) got their revenge on Friday night for a previous meeting, in which the Gaels (7-5) eliminated them from the playoff picture in last year’s first round.

Queen’s trailed by 11 points late in the fourth quarter before they went on a 17-7 run to draw within a single point. The Rams pulled away with two made free throws to close the game as Gael Liz Boag missed a final three-point attempt.

Assistant coach James Bambury believes his team needs to be consistent and composed.

“Our biggest issue is that we need to be more even keeled,” he said.

Boag finished with 12 points and four assists on 4-14 shooting. Forward Robyn Pearson nearly registered a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. She also had three blocks on the night.

The Gaels only made half of their free throw attempts, going 11 for 22 – a costly mark in a three-point game.

Boag said the Rams “have a lot of defensive pressure,” which resulted in 21 turnovers from the Gaels.

The Gaels never led against the Varsity Blues (5-7) on Saturday, and in the second quarter Queen’s was held to only six points.

They had a lot of difficulty advancing the ball, often being stripped by opposing guards Vanessa Brathwaite and Rachael Sider, who together tallied eight steals.

Coach Dave Wilson believed Toronto’s defensive pressure hurt the Gaels.

“Even when we beat their pressure, we didn’t punish them for it,” Wilson said. “That’s their style, they try to wear you down over the course of the game.”

Only Boag and wing Jenny Wright scored in double digits in the game. Boag finished with 12 points and Wright with 14.

Pearson had another near double-double night, as she collected 13 rebounds to go along with eight points.

Blues guard Jill Stratton led her squad with 25 points, while Sider poured in 17.

The Gaels begin a four-game road trip next Friday against the Laurentian Voyageurs (2-9), before facing the Algoma Thunderbirds (0-11) in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday.

OUA East Standings

T1. Carleton [8-3]
T1. Ottawa [8-3]
3. Queen’s [7-5]
4. Toronto [5-7]
5. Ryerson [4-8]
6. York [3-9]
7. Laurentian [2-9]
8. Algoma [0-11]

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