Coming into this past weekend, Brock women’s basketball held the second last playoff spot in the OUA. However, they couldn’t have asked for a tougher opponent on Friday night, as they took on the fifth ranked and undefeated Queen’s Gaels. Saturday was a much more respectable opponent, as York came into St. Catharines holding a 2-9 record.
The Badgers were able to put up a strong fight against the Queen’s Gaels, but fell short 79-72 to the only undefeated team in U Sports women’s basketball. Brock went into half down one to Queen’s and after three quarters the Gaels lead expanded to four. However, the Gaels were just too much for the Badgers on this night.
The now 12-0 Queen’s team has only been outscored in six of the 48 quarters they have played (not counting their lone overtime, which they won). Only teams to win a quarter against the Gaels are: number seven ranked Ryerson (won two quarters), number one ranked McMaster, number six ranked Windsor, the 10-5 Laurier Golden Hawks and the 4-8 Brock Badgers.
The Badgers held the Gaels to 0/10 shooting from three during this game — this is a Gaels team that ranks seventh in three-point percentage in the OUA and average just over four three’s per game.
Bridget Atkinson led Brock with 22 points on 8/11 shooting. She also added five assists and three steals. Kira Cornelissen picked up her sixth double-double of the season scoring 17 points and bringing down 10 rebounds.
Guard Melissa Tatti continued her resurgence in 2017, after a slow start in 2016. Tatti added 20 points on 4/9 shooting from three and had four steals against Queen’s. In her last four games, Tatti is averaging 15.5 points per game and shooting 45 per cent from three.
Unfortunately, the Badgers good bill of health ended on Saturday as they would play the York Lions without Tatti. It was the first game Tatti had missed all season, leaving Cornelissen and Baelie Campbell as the only Badgers to not miss a game this season.
The absence of Tatti was obvious against the York Lions as the Badgers shot 0/9 from three. The Badgers also threw possessions away as they turned the ball over 19 times. They stuck around all game versus the Lions, but fell short 52-48.
Losing to York could sting the Badgers down the line, as they chase a playoff spot. After this weekend Brock has fallen to the 14th spot in the OUA playoff standings. They sit behind two teams they’ve already beat in Guelph and Toronto.
The Badgers still have games left to be played against the 1-11 Guelph Gryphons, 5-8 Waterloo Warriors, 1-12 Algoma Thunderbirds and 5-7 Western Mustangs. The Badgers must win at least three of those fives games, as they still have to play the ranked Rams and Lancers as well as the tough Laurier Golden Hawks.
Brock’s next game will be against the seventh ranked Rams this upcoming Friday at the Meridian Centre. The Badgers showed against McMaster and Queen’s that they can compete against the top ranked teams.
Head coach Ashley MacSporran and her staff have done a tremendous job preparing their teams ahead of tough games. The coaches seem to have gained the players trust, and the women are buying into the game plan every game.
Out of the 10 teams in the OUA with records below .500, the Badgers have the fourth best point differential.
Last year the Badgers kept the game close against the Rams but would eventually fall 74-67. Of course this year both teams are showing two different rosters, so the Badgers will need to adjust their game plan.
Ryerson and Queen’s play different styles of basketball so Brock’s game plan will have to change. The Rams post a lesser offense compared to the Gaels, but the Rams are a very strong defensive team. The Rams are third in the OUA in point against per game and first in opponents field goal percentage.
This game will come down to how the Badgers prepare defensively because with Cornelissen, the OUA’s top leading scorer, the Badgers will get there’s offensively but they’ll need to find a way to match the Rams defense.
Seven games remain on the schedule, and every game is becoming more and more meaningful with playoff hopes diminishing for some teams.
Brock versus Ryerson women’s game will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines.