Women’s basketball clinch playoff berth

Win over York secures Gaels postseason spot

Third year Megan Saftich played 12 minutes against York on Friday.
Third-year Megan Saftich played 12 minutes against York on Friday.

In their lone weekend game on Friday, the women’s basketball team (12-7) clinched a playoff spot with an 80-64 win over the York Lions (8-11).

The Gaels came out early holding an 11-5 lead within the game’s opening minutes. A mid-quarter 8-0 run by the Lions, however, saw the visiting side take a narrow 19-18 edge to close the opening quarter. 

Queen’s took control of the game in the second quarter—they outscored the Lions 17-8 in the frame and limited them to 28 per cent from the field and 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. With a 35-27 lead to start the second-half, the Gaels kept momentum and put up 29 points in the third, eventually winning by a 16-point difference, 80-64.

In a post-game interview with The Journal, Head Coach Dave Wilson commented on what he called an “interesting” performance from York. He said the likelihood both teams will be matched up in the first round of the playoffs may have influenced York’s unexpected game plan. The Gaels won their first meeting with the Lions in October 66-57.

“I didn’t see [them put everything] on the table to win the basketball game,” he said. “I thought, in some ways, there was a little bit going on with [York]—they played a lot more players than they normally play.”

According to Wilson, his team lacked on defense and controlling their possessions.

“Defense would be number one, trying to contain the ball carriers,” Wilson said on where his side struggled Friday night. “We did a pretty good job, but I always think we can do better. [T]he second thing is taking care of the basketball.”

The Gaels finished the night with 18 turnovers; Wilson said he’d still like to see that number come down. On the season, Queen’s averages 20.4 turnovers a game—fourth-worst in the OUA.

Fifth-year Marianne Alarie, who recently reached the 1,000 career point mark, led the Gaels with 22 points in the game. Second-year Sophie de Goede, recently back to action following an ankle injury, had a season-high 21 points. Fourth-year Veronika Lavergne chipped in with a game-high 11 rebounds. 

Next weekend, Queen’s will host the OUA East-leading UOttawa Gee-Gees (17-2) and Carleton Ravens (15-4) in their second-last weekend of regular season action.

The final weekend will see the Gaels travel to Toronto to face the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (4-15) and Ryerson Rams (15-4). In their earlier meetings this season, the Gaels fell to the Rams 79-58 but dominated over the Blues 87-38.

Last year, the Gaels were knocked out of the playoffs when they fell to the Gee-Gees 63-74 in the OUA quarterfinals—the first time they failed to pass the first round since the 2011-12 season.

With a spot in the postseason this weekend, the Gaels will need to hone their defensive play by the end of the month, according to Wilson.

The coach said there will be one focus this upcoming week: rest. The rare one-game weekend gave the Gaels a chance to take care of any nagging injuries and school work.

“Once you get to playoffs, then there’s a lot of pressure and things going on,” Wilson said. “We’d like to be ahead of our time.”

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