Nationally ranked Brock basketball teams begins regular season

Prior to the start of the 2015-16 Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s (CIS) basketball season on Nov. 4, basketball fans were patiently waiting for the release of the CIS top 10 nationally rankings. For Brock’s women’s and men’s basketball teams, strong preseason performances had them in the discussions to be nationally ranked teams.

When the rankings were officially released, the women received one first-place vote and were ranked sixth in the CIS, behind McMaster, Saskatchewan, McGill, Ryerson and Saint Mary’s. The men were ranked fourth in Canada; behind Ottawa, Carleton and McGill. The men also received seven first-place votes. Therefore, 2015 marks the first time both teams have been nationally ranked at the same time since the 2006-07 season.

The Badgers would open their season at McMaster, as the women would take on the number one ranked Marauders and the men would face the number eight ranked counter parts. It was a crucial divisional game for the two rival teams as the central division is up for grabs this season.

The women’s teams would open up the regular season in a tightly contested game as the Marauders would take a 19-12 lead after the first quarter. It was the start of a poor shooting night for the Badgers, as they shot 28 per cent from the field for the game. However, offensive rebounds would keep them in the game as the Badgers outscored the Marauders 39-28 in the second and third quarters. Kira Cornelissen led the team in rebounds with 10, and added 14 points.

Heading into the fourth, the Badgers led 51-47. Marauders fourth-year guard Danielle Boiago would lead all scorers with 18 points and add nine rebounds. Boiago’s strong six of eight shooting from the free throw line would help lead her team comeback for a 68-65 win over the Badgers.

In the final 17-seconds, the Badgers had multiple chances to tie the game. Chrissy Sirignano would miss a corner three, then Kayla Santilli would miss a tough fade-away from the corner after grabbing the offensive rebound. Marauders Bioago would go to the line after the Badgers were forced to foul, however, she would miss the only two free throws she missed all game in that moment. This gave the Badgers one last chance with five seconds left, but Melissa Tatti’s half-court shot just missed the mark.

Following the women’s game, the men would take to the court, and just like the female Badgers, the men would also trail after the first quarter. In fact, the Badgers would trail by double digits at one moment of the game, as the halftime score was 38-29 for the Marauders. The major story in the first half for the Badgers was rebounding and shot selection.

They would come back in the second half and finish the game out-rebounding the Marauders 43-37. Shot selection improved as well, as the Badgers would take the 60-56 lead into the final quarter. The second half proved that the Badgers were indeed the better team after a slow start. The Badgers came away with an 83-75 win to start the season.

Dani Elgadi led the way with a double-double as he scored 23 points on seven of 14 shooting, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Matt Marshall would also hit the double-double milestone with 15-points and 13 rebounds, as he quietly helped the Badgers back into the game. Ryan Bennett added 19 points and Johneil Simpson contributed 16.

On Nov. 6, the two teams travelled to Algoma for what most expected to be an easy-win for the Badgers. The women Badgers picked up their first win of the season 74-45 as they beat the Thunderbirds. The men also pulled through with the win, but didn’t make it easy on themselves. In fact, the game was tied at half and the Thunderbirds would hold onto a small lead in the third before the Badgers prevailed with a 63-57 win. Elgadi led all scorers with 18 points, and added his second double-double of the year as he pulled down 12 rebounds.

Also, on Nov. 5, Brock Athletics announced that Brock basketball would make history as they will host Lakehead University at the Meridian Centre on November 28. This game will be a part of the Badgers home opener weekend, as they also play host to Lakehead on Nov. 27 in Bob Davis Gymnasium. This will be the first ever Brock game played at the one-year old Meridian Centre. It will also attract the biggest crowd to ever attend a Brock sporting event, along with it potentially being the largest crowd for a basketball game in the Niagara region.

Before all that can happen the Badgers will take this weekend off before heading off to play York and Queen’s on Nov. 20 and 21.

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