Which varsity team will go farthest in the playoffs?

The Journal’s sports editors argue which Gaels team will go deep in the OUA playoffs

Emma Ritcey from women's basketball and Francessco Vilardi from men's hockey.
Emma Ritcey from women's basketball and Francessco Vilardi from men's hockey.
Credit: 
Illustration by Kayla Thomson

Joseph Cattana: Women's basketball

When you win 16 games in a row, you must be doing something right. 

Currently, the women’s basketball team is one of the most well-rounded teams in the OUA, scoring 73.6 points per game — good for second in the league. While the team might have one of the most potent offensives in the league, it’s a team effort. Marianne Alaire — the team’s leading scorer — is 29th in the OUA with 10.8 points per game. 

This balanced attack is the reason why the team is currently 17-1. Against McMaster, Carleton, Windsor and Ryerson — four of the top ten teams in U Sports — Queen’s is 4-1. To make it far in the playoffs, the Gaels will need to beat at least one of these teams. Beating teams in both close and tight games, Queen’s has proven they can play in any type of game.

From a defensive standpoint, Dave Wilson has one of his strongest teams throughout his tenure at Queen’s. This year, the Gaels lead the league with 11.9 steals per game, also ranking in the top-five in blocks.

This isn’t the only reason why the women’s basketball team will go deeper than anyone else — it’s due to efficency. Currently, Queen’s is shooting 40.1 per cent from the field, tied for the best in the OUA. Also, they’re second in the OUA for rebounding, giving their team more opportunities to score while limiting their opposition. 

Also, from an experience standpoint, Queen’s has veteran players who’ve seen it all. Both Robyn Pearson and Emily Hazlett have spent five years in the program, experiencing it all as Gaels. In their first year, the team went 8-14, and throughout every year the team has improved. In the playoffs, where games are much slower and tighter down the stretch, the Gaels will rely on their veteran leadership.

All of these elements combined with their 16 game winning streak, will see the women’s basketball team go deep into March.

Sarah O’Flaherty: Men's hockey

The men’s hockey team is having one of the best seasons they’ve had in recent memory — thanks largely to the leadership of their talented veteran players. The team currently holds an 18-7-3 record and are ranked 10th in the country and third in the OUA East. While they’ve had a difficult few games recently without some of their key players, the team is back in one piece and looking to capture gold at the OUA Championships.  

The team’s offensive efforts are led by the deadly combination of forwards Slater Doggett and Eric Ming, who dominate the Gaels attack. Doggett and Ming currently have 13 goals each under their belts and 20 and 15 assists, respectively. They’re effective players on their own but lethal when they work as a duo —  a third of the team’s overall goal scoring this season has come at the hands of these players. Capable and hardworking forwards like Darcy Greenaway and Dylan Anderson, who currently have a combined 10 goals and 15 assists, round out the team’s offensive efforts. 

From a defensive standpoint, the Gaels are led by Spencer Abraham and Patrick Downe. Downe and Abraham’s presence from the backline has helped to ignite the team’s offense, as they have 13 and nine assists each and three goals apiece.  

As the coaching staff has admitted, the team has struggled with the lack of depth in their roster. While their top four players — Doggett, Ming, goalie Kevin Bailie and defenseman Spencer Abraham — were in Kazakhstan playing on an all-star U Sports team, the team struggled to produce the same caliber of games as when they are led by these players.  While they had some results from players like Greenaway, they were clearly hurting without the leadership of their top four — losing to RMC in the Carr-Harris Cup. 

However, these players are back in theirr tricolour jerseys to lead the team in the OUA playoffs, which began last night. With Gibson and his four star players back in Kingston, there’s nothing stopping the men’s hockey team from reaching the pinnacle of the OUA. 

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