Brock Women’s Basketball makes playoffs after two-year absence

Saturday night was the final game of the season and both teams were preparing themselves for a first-round playoff appearance.

Regardless of what happened Saturday, the Brock Women’s Basketball team and the Guelph Gryphons were already scheduled to meet again this Wednesday. What Saturday night in Guelph did determine was who would be the host of the Wednesday game.

The Gryphons entered the game as the eighth seed in the OUA and the Badgers were right behind as the ninth seed. The winner of Saturday’s game would host the first round playoff game between the two, which would then lead to the winner of that game playing number one Ottawa.

Both teams had met earlier this year when the Badgers hosted the Gryphons. Brock would pick up the 59-53 win as the two teams played a back and forth contest.

The second meeting had more of a meaning than the first time. The Badgers were hoping to win so they could host a playoff game for everyone who had supported them all year. Unfortunately, the Badgers fell 57-48 to the Gryphons.

For the second straight game, Brock was without two of its five starters. Kate Harpur and Melissa Tatti, who are expected to return for Wednesday’s game, sat out.

Both teams came out struggling as the first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie. The offensive game for the Badgers didn’t arrive until the fourth quarter, as Brock shot 25.8 per cent for the game. The Gryphons had much more success as they shot 34.5 per cent.

Yumol (left) guides Badgers to a playoff berth / Christy Mitchell

Yumol (left) guides Badgers to a playoff berth / Christy Mitchell

With Harpur and Tatti out, more pressure was put on Badgers Kira Cornelissen and Jenalyn Yumol. Cornelissen was held to four of 16 shooting and was limited on the boards as well as she only had four rebounds. Yumol had a decent game as she scored 11 points on four of nine shooting.

The Badgers were out-rebounded by the Gryphons 46-31 in this game, and a lot of that has to do with Harpur missing out on the game. Harpur averages 9.4 rebounds per game for the Badgers. Tatti and Harpur combined average is close to 20 points per game for the Badgers, which was missing from this game.

Aryn Finley had a strong game off the bench for the Badgers, as she scored 11 points with two of four shooting from beyond the arc.

The last time the Badgers made the playoffs was 2014, when they lost to Laurier 62-57. Current senior Kayla Santilli scored nine points for the Badgers in this game as a junior. Yumol was also on this roster for the Badgers, as she missed a free throw late in the game that would have tied the game 58-58. Other players that were on the Badgers playoff team in 2014 and will suit up Wednesday are Harpur, Cornelissen, Dayna Howlett, Becky Ralph and Alexandra Symonds.

The playoff experience on this roster will help the Badgers come Wednesday, as the younger players will have veteran leadership to turn to. This is Yumol, Santilli, Harpur, Ralph and Howlett’s final playoff run with the Badgers, so for the future the younger Badgers will be able to learn and carry their playoff experience to next year.

Brock and Guelph are two very evenly matched teams, as the Badgers average 65.8 points per game compared to the Gryphons 65.3. Defensively the Gryphons get the edge as they give up 59.9 points per game compared to the Badgers 60.2.

The even match-up is even tighter than just points. The Badgers turn the ball over 16.6 times per game and the Gryphons turn the ball over 16.5 times per game. The one edge the Badgers do have is rebounding. The Badgers average 41.8 rebounds per game compared to the Gryphons 37.8, but the Badgers will need Harpur to return to have that success.

Overall the Gryphons finished the season with an 11-8 record and the Badgers finished 10-9. The two teams got a taste of a playoff game this past Saturday and come March 2, the two teams will be even more prepared for each other.

The Badgers have a 7-3 record against the Gryphons in the last 10 meetings the two teams have met. Wednesday will be the third in just one year the two teams meet and it’s guaranteed to be another back and forth game between the two teams.

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