For the first time in four years, the Brock women’s basketball program is amongst the top-10 in the country. With the most recent set of U Sports rankings being published last Tuesday, the then 6-1 Badgers were ranked as the No. 10 team.
It’s been a long time coming for a program that has been through a lot over the past four years. The superb job that head coach Mike Rao has done over the past two years cannot be overstated. Rao will undoubtedly be in the running for OUA Coach of the Year come seasons’ end.
The Badgers have had a very home-heavy schedule so far, having played just one game on the road heading into this past weekend. A pair of games against the struggling Nipissing Lakers and Laurentian Voyageurs saw an opportunity for Brock to improve to 8-1 — something they have not done since that 2015-16 season, which saw the Badgers rank as high as No. 7 in the country thanks to a 10-1 start.
The Badgers’ first game against Nipissing saw Brock hold the Lakers to two single-digit quarters; of their last eight quarters played, the Badgers have held opponents to four single-digit quarters.
The game was dominated by Sam Keltos, who put up a monster 23-point, 14-rebound performance off 9-16 shooting, including 5-7 from deep in just 21 minutes of action. She’s now fifth in the OUA in rebounding with 8.6 a game. Eden Ferraro added 10 points and eight rebounds en route to a 62-41 win.
It was a tough shooting night for the Badgers perimeter players, as the trio of Melissa Tatti, Kristin Gallant and Jess Morris each scored single digit points and combined to shoot 7-24, including 2-12 from three. When three of your starters each score seven points or less and you still win by over 20? It just goes to show all the work that Rao and his staff have done in the summer, as the Badgers depth — or lack thereof — was one of their biggest weaknesses a season ago.
The second game of this quick two-game road trip came against another poor team, the now 2-7 Laurentian Voyageurs. The Badgers put up a season-high 86 points in the game, largely thanks to a pair of huge performances from Keltos and Morris. For the second time in three games, Morris put up a new career-high, this time with 25 points off of a stellar 10-15 shooting night. Morris’ shooting splits currently sit at 45-41-83 on the season. Keltos also added 22 points, while Tatti tacked on 18 and five assists. The Badgers won handily by a score of 86-64.
The Badgers currently have the third best record in the OUA, only behind the 9-1 Western Mustangs and Windsor Lancers.
The Badgers will play their final game of 2019 tomorrow night in Hamilton against the 6-2 Marauders. Brock beat McMaster 75-61 in their first meeting this year.