Women's basketball lose first OUA quarterfinal since 2012

Queen’s fall short of UOttawa 74-63

Andrea Priamo (above) had 11 points and five rebounds for Queen’s in the loss.
Andrea Priamo (above) had 11 points and five rebounds for Queen’s in the loss.
Supplied by Shawn MacDonald

After going into the playoffs with the third best record in Ontario, the women’s basketball team looked poised for a deep postseason run. But after their 74-63 loss to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in the first round, Queen’s hopes of returning to the OUA final were put to rest. 

The loss marked the first time the Gaels have failed to escape the opening round of the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. 

Despite the Gaels’ familiarity with their opponent — they split the season series against the Gee-Gees — establishing the upper hand over Ottawa in the playoffs was a tough task. Queen’s only managed to hold a lead against the Gee-Gees once throughout the contest. At one point, they trailed by as much as 14 points. 

In an interview with The Journal on Monday afternoon, head coach Dave Wilson expressed his disappointment over the loss. 

“If we don’t have a gold medal in our hands at the end of the season, I’m always going to be disappointed,” Wilson said of the Gaels’ first round exit. In spite of the loss, his discouragement stems more from the game’s result rather than his team’s play. 

“I’m not disappointed in our players or in our team … it’s disappointing in terms of the result,” he explained. “I thought we competed hard [but] we played a UOttawa team that came out exceptionally well prepared.” 

When asked where his team fell short in particular, Wilson said the Gaels’ pick-and-roll defense struggled to contain UOttawa’s starting frontcourt. On the night, Ottawa’s Angela Ribarich and Brigette Lefebvre combined for 37 points and 23 rebounds. 

“It’s a difficult play,” Wilson said about the pick-and-roll. “There’s lots of opportunity to deflect the ball or turn it over, it’s just we weren’t able to get those deflections this time around and consequently they were able to score out of it.” 

Wilson also cited a poor stretch of shooting in the second quarter — where the Gaels shot just 20 per cent from the field compared to Ottawa’s 41.2 per cent — as another contributing factor to the loss. 

“We struggled to get the ball in the basket … that means [UOttawa] gets off to the races, that means it’s hard to get our defense set,” Wilson said of his team’s shooting troubles. 

The Gaels are now 49-12 over their last three regular seasons — a record that’s second best in the OUA over that time. Despite being one of the top teams in the province during this time, they haven’t won the OUA’s Critelli Cup since 2000-01. 

While they had a successful regular season, it took time for the Gaels’ roster to gel and find their rhythm. Even though his team was 8-1 in late November, Wilson told The Journal the Gaels were still “finding themselves” on the court.

“This is the longest I’ve ever gone where we’re still trying to sort things out with our team in my coaching career,” Wilson said at the time. 

When asked if a lacking sense of chemistry reflected in the program’s first quarterfinal loss in six years, Wilson was quick to voice his support for his team.

“I’m very pleased with how we ended up gelling, it just didn’t occur until the second semester which is longer than normal,” Wilson said of his November comments. “And it might make it sound like we were in disarray [but] that wasn’t really the case.” 

“I think we’re an exceptionally tight team in terms of chemistry [and] working together.”

Looking ahead, Wilson is optimistic regarding the Gaels’ prospects for next season. With a handful of recruits already committed to the program, he’s certain they’ll “make for a very deep team that’s capable of putting the ball in the basket.” 

“It’s going to be exceptionally exciting,” Wilson said of next season. “It’s probably one of the best recruiting classes to go forth, not only with Queen’s but in the country.” 

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