Gaels nearly double up Lakers

105-53 win ties Queen’s for second in OUA East

Michelle Istead shoots a three, and Sophie de Goede rises in anticipation.
Adriana "Ace" Condi shares an embrace with Coach Bambury.
Myriam Fontaine receives a parting gift.
The Gaels pass out flowers to their respective parents in an act of gratitude.

In their final regular season game at home, the women’s basketball team walloped Nipissing before saying a heartfelt thank you to the graduating players.

With lots of players’ parents in the stands who had travelled a long way for this special night, the Gaels put on a tour de force, shooting 50 per cent from deep en route to their highest-scoring effort of the season.

“We just came out and continued to share the ball,” said Head Coach James Bambury in a post-game interview with The Journal. “The unbelievable [stat], honestly, is 29 assists on 40 shots. And we've counted, we try to keep tallies up and I'm pretty sure we had seven nine-pass offenses that lead towards a wide-open look. 

“It's nice when we're making shots, but ultimately, it had a lot less to do with us making shots, and a lot more to do with the way we're sharing the ball and the way we're rebounding it.” 

Queen’s got ahead early and never came close to relinquishing their grip on the game. The first quarter ended 27-11. The second was more competitive, but for every shot the Lakers made, Queen’s had an answer.

From six minutes into the first quarter onwards, the Gaels’ lead was never smaller than double digits. The score was 53-35 at halftime.

The Gaels’ defence was suffocating in the second half. Nipissing only made three baskets in the third quarter, and two in the fourth.

Six Gaels scored in double digits on the evening, with Laura Donovan leading the way with 20 points. Myriam Fontaine nearly had a triple-double in what could have been her final home game, scoring 11 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists.

After the game mercifully ended, there was a ceremony to honour the graduating fifth-year Fontaine and senior Adriana “Ace” Conti. Coach Bambury gave a touching speech, thanking all the staff, parents, and players for the year’s success before speaking about what the soon-to-be graduates have brought to the team.

“I have had the pleasure of watching Ace day in and day out as a student-athlete, as a teammate and as a person,” Bambury said. “I will not be able to truly express what Ace has meant to our program as well as her teammates.”

Fontaine, introduced as “the first-ever grade 11 invite to our preseason training camp,” was described by Bambury as “the rarest of rare.” 

“She cares far more about her teammates and our collective success than any individual accolade she could possibly win. Her empathy and team-first mentality only exists in the best of us and [she has] had that from the moment we met so long ago.”

In his interview with The Journal afterwards, Bambury continued on to say, “I don't know if there's two people that better reflect choosing ‘team.’”

“The four years Ace has been here and the five that [Myriam] has been here, just relentless, relentless, relentless teammates: relentless in the classroom, they're academic all-Canadians, they truly are the epitome of what we want our players to look up to.”

“So to be able to send them off the way we wanted to send them off, and then for both to have such great games, it really makes you feel good [...] to be able to celebrate two great careers.”

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