Point-Counterpoint: Who’s the better nationally-ranked varsity team?

The Journal’s sports editors trade jabs over which Gaels team deserves most praise for its nationally-ranked status 

Women’s basketball is 6-0 at home this season.
Journal File Photo

Sebastian Bron, Sports Editor

No. 7 Women’s Basketball

For two seasons now, the women’s basketball has been one of the most dominant teams in the country. 

Dating back to the 2016-17 season, the Gaels have played a total of 31 regular season games and have lost only two. Although this ridiculous stat should speak for itself, they’ve also followed up on last season’s  18-1 record to start a season with the OUA’s second best record at 11-1 this year. 

They crash the boards at a steady clip, placing second in the OUA in total rebounds, while ranking in the top-three in blocks and steals. Moreover, the team maintains a fluid half-court offense, placing first in field goals made per game, as well as second in points, assists and free-throws made per game. The Gaels’ roster is also one of the most well-rounded in the OUA, with five players averaging at least one steal per game and over nine points per contest.

Head coach Dave Wilson told The Journal on Nov. 30 that the team — then 9-1 — were still looking to find themselves. He said it had been the longest he’d ever gone “still trying to sort things out with our team in my [37 year] coaching career.” 

If they still have things to work out — I’ll take it. 


Matt Scace, Assistant Sports Editor 

No. 8 Women’s Hockey

 It’s not news that the women’s hockey team has what it takes to compete with the country’s best. Since last year’s national championships — where they finished fifth in Canada — the Gaels have only gotten better.

Currently boasting the best record in the OUA, it’s been difficult to find many flaws in this team who started the season outside the national rankings.

In her second consecutive season as the Gaels’ starting goaltender, Stephanie Pascal has once again proved to be one of the Gaels’ shining stars. Providing Queen’s with steadiness in the defensive zone, Pascal has been one of the Gaels’ steadiest players with an OUA second-best 1.40 goals against average through 14 games.

Meanwhile, it appears that 2015-16 OUA Rookie of the Year Katrina Manoukarakis has built on the strong reputation she created when she came to Queen’s two years ago. Leading the Gaels with eight goals and 14 points, the third-year has since made a name for herself in the OUA’s elite crop of athletes.

Moreover, the Gaels have improved on areas that suffered significantly last season.

Over the course of the 2016-17 season, head coach Matt Holmberg was adamant about improving their power play and penalty kill. With injuries throughout their lineup, the Gaels finished last season with a league-worst 5.8 per cent success rate on the power play. This year, however, the Gaels sit third in the OUA at 17.9 per cent.

On defense, the Gaels have been just as successful in fending off teams during the penalty kill. The Gaels currently have a league-best 95.8 per cent penalty kill percentage, a 5.3 per cent increase from last season.

Away from the stats sheets, the Gaels have benefitted tremendously from a large crop of returning athletes. With 15 representing Queen’s at the U Sports National Championship, the Gaels have taken care of lower-ranked teams with ease and handled top-ranked teams as their equals.

With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Gaels will have to do much of the same in order to reach the national championships for a second consecutive season. At their current pace, it looks like a strong possibility.

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