Brock women’s basketball had the biggest game of their season thus far into the 2017-18 season on Wednesday night. On their home court, against the Guelph Gryphons with a chance to inch closer to a playoff spot.
Prior to the game the Badgers were four points behind the Gryphons for the final OUA west spot with eight games left on the schedule.
The first half was tightly contested and very back-and-forth. Brooke Murdoch shot three-for-five from three-point range while Courtney McPherson led both teams with seven rebounds.
Going into halftime down by two, the Badgers needed to stay on pace with Gryphons as a loss would almost diminish any playoff hope for Brock.
Instead, Guelph started the second half on a 21-0 run before Brock was able to make two free throws with 17.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Brock went the entire third quarter without a field goal.
Guelph dominated Brock in the quarter and ran away with the game, as the short-handed Badgers could only watch. The seven-player lineup for the Badgers looked gassed as the quarter was filled with turnovers and lack of rebounding on the defensive end. The depleted Badgers committed 25 turnovers to Guelph’s 12 on the night. The Badgers lead the entire OUA in turnovers per game, committing just under three more turnovers per games than the second-worst team.
Brock now sits three games back of Guelph and Laurier for the final playoff spot in the west division with seven games remaining. The Badgers are 1-9 in their last 10 games.
Head coach Ashley MacSporran is still hopeful that the team can make the playoffs with a strong late-season push.
“We’re still in it. We’ve beat Laurier and Western [this season]”, said MacSporran. “If we get people back, and we handle Waterloo, and Laurier loses to who they’re going to lose to, then we’re in playoffs.”
Murdoch led the Badgers with 15 points and six rebounds and Baelie Campbell added 13 points on two-of-13 shooting, but went nine-for-10 from the free throw line. The rest of the team shot 22.7 per cent from the field.
It was a different story for the men’s team on the same night. The number two ranked Badgers came into Wednesday on a five-game win streak, while the Gryphons men were heading the opposite way, losing five straight.
In the first meeting between these two teams this season, only six days ago, the Badgers allowed the Gryphons to stick around before pulling away for an 11-point victory. It wasn’t any different on this night, as head coach Charles Kissi went deep into his bench early against the three-win Gryphons.
The Badgers were up 36-27 at halftime, and allowed the Gryphons to stick around during the second half – a time the Badgers have normally pulled away from opposing teams.
Brock would go onto win 93-80, their eighth double digit win against the OUA west this season. The Badgers shot 47.8 per cent, while holding the Gryphons to 36.8 per cent. A major reason the Gryphons stuck around was Brock’s 20 turnovers and Guelph’s ability to grab 18 offensive rebounds, leading to 25 second chance points.
The Badgers were led by Tyler Brown’s 19 points and seven assists, with Dani Elgadi adding a double-double with 16-points and 11-rebounds. Cassidy Ryan was solid on the night with 14 points and Noah Lapierre came off the bench for a career-high 10-points.
Brock improves to 15-2 on the season, extending their win streak to six.
Both Brock teams will rest up now, as they’ll await the arrival of the Waterloo Warriors for a Saturday home game. The Warriors women’s team is 1-15, giving the Badgers a hopeful chance to return to the win column, and the men’s team is 7-9 on the season. The women’s game begins at 6:00 p.m. and the men will follow at 8:00 p.m.