Women’s basketball split home games in return to action

Gaels fall to No. 3 Ryerson, win big against U of T to tipoff winter semester

Fifth-year Marianne Alarie scored nine points for Queen’s on Saturday night against U of T.
Fifth-year Marianne Alarie scored nine points for Queen’s on Saturday night against U of T.

The women’s basketball team (9-5) faced two teams with two very different trajectories in the OUA standings this weekend.

Playing at home for the first time in nearly two months, the Gaels came up short against the nationally-ranked third Ryerson Rams (12-2) 79-58 on Friday, and went on to decimate the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (3-11) 87-38 on Saturday night.

Against Ryerson, the Gaels spent the first half of the game outmatched. Mustering together seven points to Ryerson’s 17 in the first quarter, Queen’s fell into an early deficit they struggled to dig themselves out of.

Down 38-15 at halftime, the Gaels went into the locker room going 6 of 29 from the field—a 20.6 per cent shooting percentage. Ryerson, meanwhile, shot 48.5 per cent.

“[Ryerson is] a very good team, they have great shooters,” Head Coach Dave Wilson told The Journal. “I was just disappointed with our execution. We had opportunities to score that were very similar to theirs.”

In the second half, Wilson’s team rebounded with far stronger play. While Ryerson narrowly outscored Queen’s 21-19 in the third quarter, the Gaels kept pace with the Rams by shooting a steady 42 per cent from the field and 75 per cent from three point range. In the fourth, Queen’s edged Ryerson 24-20, but it’d proved not enough in a game that’d been set in the first half.

Wilson said his team’s second half was encouraging, but acknowledged the Gaels aren’t on the same level as the nationally-ranked Rams.

“We did get a little bit of life in the second half,” Wilson said. “It gave us a little confidence, but we’re still a ways away from being as sharp as we need to be to beat a team like Ryerson.”

On Saturday, the Gaels took on the U of T Varsity Blues, who came into the game riding a four-game losing streak and tied for last place in the OUA East. A stark contrast to the previous night, Queen’s sped to an 87-38 victory over the Blues, who had just eight players available due to a large number of lingering injuries.

Wilson said games like Saturday’s are useful for the team to work on their play schemes and clean up mistakes. Even in a matchup where the Gaels dominated from tipoff till the last buzzer, the coach remained critical of his team’s weaknesses. 

“For us, it’s a game where you’re trying to improve your execution. There’s still a long ways for us to go but there’s a lot of good things we did,” Wilson said. “You hate to harp on them, but that’s where we have to get better.”

The weekend’s pair of games were second-year Sophie de Goede’s third and fourth games back in action due to an ankle injury at the women’s rugby U Sports Championships back in the fall.

“She’s a pit bull who gets after the boards and everything,” Wilson said of de Goede, the only dual-sport athlete on his roster. “We’re really happy to have her back.”

The coming weeks will be a telling period for the Gaels, as they’re set to take on some of the province’s best teams in their final nine games of the season. Next weekend, they’re on the road to face the nationally-ranked fifth UOttawa Gee Gee’s (10-2) and nationally-ranked sixth Carleton Ravens (10-2) in Ottawa.

Queen’s lost to UOttawa in the quarterfinals of last year’s OUA playoffs, giving them a shot at redemption. They’ll play them again three weeks from now in another weekend set of games.

“It’s to figure out where we are in this division,” Wilson said of his team’s coming road trip to Ottawa. “It’s really to see how we match up with them and what we want to do in order to be successful again.”

“I’m hoping in this next four-week spread we continue to get a lot better.”

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