Queen’s Women’s Basketball is going to the Critelli Cup

Gaels onto OUA finals and U SPORTS championship after wins over Brock and Waterloo

Gaels advance to OUA finals for first time in over five years.

Women’s Basketball punched their ticket to the OUA Critelli Cup and the U SPORTS championship on Wednesday with a win over Waterloo.

Before that, Saturday’s quarterfinal game started in the worst way possible: three three-pointers from Brock. After four empty minutes from Queen’s, Bridget Mulholland finally put them on the board with two good free throws.

Ninth-ranked Brock had already found the momentum they needed and finished the first half leading Queen’s. In those down stretches, however, Queen’s didn’t waver—they focused on the work they’d put in and prepared to take off.

“We really trust ourselves,” Mulholland said in a post-game interview with The Journal.

“There’s been games where teams have gone on runs […] and something that we have learnt from those moments is that’s okay. Teams will go on runs, that’s the nature of basketball, specifically when teams are hitting shots and hitting threes. That’s cool, that’s fine. We take a deep breath and then it’s our turn.”

Even though it never got easier, Queen’s started to better execute their game plan after a conversation at half-time.

“We talked about all of the little things mattering in these games,” Head Coach Claire Meadows said. “It was just reinforcing that we are doing all of the things that we want to do in a game.”

“We shot 8.3 per cent from the three-point line, which is usually one of our best stats, so we talked about all of the little things mattering in these games.”

The pep talk worked, as Queen’s started to slowly pull ahead until the fourth quarter when Emma Weltz decided to take off. She contributed 10 points, two rebounds, and two steals over the final 10 minutes of the Gaels’ comeback win.

“Emma Weltz has just been our motor. She’s just been our engine all year and she’s proved to be that down the stretch with just great composure,” Meadows said.

After their 71-66 victory over Brock, Queen’s started to prepare for the semi-finals game against Waterloo.

The semi-final game began in Queen’s favour with the Gaels up nine points after the first quarter and leading by 16 points at half. At this point they were perfect from the foul line, with Weltz leading the team with 15 points.

The Warriors, however, were preparing for a fight. In the third and fourth they slowly battled their way back into the game with a few runs of their own.

“I thought Waterloo did a really good job of pressuring us and getting us out of rhythm and I thought that at moments we got outside of ourselves and that got us in trouble,” Meadows said.

“But I think that moving forward this is exactly what we are going to get, so this is great preparation.”

With less than two minutes left in the game, the Warriors had closed the gap to four points as Queen’s fans held their breath.

The Gaels responded by returning to their rhythm and fighting hard for rebounds. In the final moments they worked to keep possession and hit their free throws to advance to the Critelli Cup with a 69-62 victory.

“It’s really difficult to get to this point in the season, and I think after we experienced nationals last year and had success last year this is a big moment for us in terms of accomplishing one of our goals this season,” Meadows said of the win.

The team really appreciated the support and energy from the Queen’s community during such an important game.

“That was a phenomenal crowd, holy smokes,” Meadows said. “That’s like the sixth player in the game—you feed off of that energy and it was great to have that support.”

“I can’t even describe how it felt to win that game in that environment in front of that crowd,” Weltz echoed.

Queen’s will play for a banner this Saturday at 7 p.m. at the ARC. Tickets are on sale now and will also be available at the door.

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