Wright ravages Western

Guard's career day keeps women’s basketball in hunt for post-season bye

Jenny Wright’s dominant Saturday powered women’s basketball past the Western Mustangs.

The fourth-year forward racked up a career-high 35 points in the Gaels’ 86-72 road victory. The win over Western (5-10) came one night after Queen’s fell 89-81 to the Windsor Lancers (13-1).

While the Gaels (9-5) are guaranteed a playoff berth, they’re still fighting for a first-round bye with five games remaining in their season.

The top four teams in the OUA at the end of the season will receive a bye and host their second-round matchup. Queen’s is currently sixth in the 17-team league.

“Our ultimate goal is to win out the season, get one of those top four spots and move forward from there,” said head coach Dave Wilson.

The Gaels made the first step towards grabbing a bye with their performance over the weekend. Facing the top team in the CIS rankings, the Gaels kept it close against the Lancers, leading by one point heading into the final quarter before losing by eight.

“You’re not going to get this answer out of me very often, but I thought we played very well in both games,” Wilson said. “Despite losing to Windsor, I actually really liked the way we played. I thought we were composed throughout the game, which is sometimes very difficult to do against the number one team in the country.”

Wilson said the game came down to a pair of scoring runs by the Lancers, including one in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

“Basically, we just didn’t have enough time to come back on that one,” Wilson said. “Other than that, it was basically an even game.”

The Gaels had to rebound in a big way against the Mustangs — and they did, due in large part to Wright’s career day.

Wright connected on 15 of her 21 shot attempts from the field and added five rebounds and four steals.

“Nothing short of outstanding and nothing short of what she’s quite capable of doing,” Wilson said. “She’s a very, very gifted athlete who can score inside and can score outside and is a very good defender.”

The Gaels led from wire to wire against Western, taking the lead 30 seconds into the contest on a three-pointer from Wright and never relinquishing it.

“Part of the thing that impressed me after the Western game was after playing the number one team in the country so close and falling short, sometimes turning around and coming out sharp against another team is really difficult,” Wilson said.

“I thought we managed that very well. It was something we talked about after the Windsor game and they came out really strong.”

Starting with this Saturday’s road game against the McMaster Marauders (11-4), the Gaels will face five straight teams hovering near them in the playoff picture.

They’ll wrap up the regular season with a pair of divisional games against the Ryerson Rams (12-3) and the Toronto Varsity Blues (7-6) on Feb. 20-21.

Wilson said the Gaels want to face their tougher competition near the end of the season to help prepare them for the post-season.

“It’s what’s going to help prepare us to go through the playoffs, because you’ve got to beat these teams,” he said. “Every game is going to be tough.”

OUA Women’s Basketball RPI (Rating Percentage Index) rankings

The top three teams in each OUA division will advance to the playoffs. Based off their performance against other playoff teams, the 12 schools will be seeded 1-12 with the top four schools receiving a bye for the first round of the post-season.

1. Laurier

2. Windsor

3. Ryerson

4. McMaster

5. Lakehead

6. Queen’s

7. Ottawa

8. Toronto

9. Carleton

10. Western

11. Guelph

12. Laurentian

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