Gryphon hoops women leave Varsity Blues behind
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons pulled away in the fourth quarter to record an 87-69 victory over the Toronto Varsity Blues in OUA women’s basketball play Sunday at the Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre.
The win followed last week’s loss to the fourth-ranked Ryerson Rams and it secured a spot in the top three in the West Division. While the Gryphs had already clinched a playoff berth, they remain in the running for a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
The top three teams in each division qualify for the playoffs along with the three teams with the next-best records of the other nine teams.
The three teams that finished first in their division plus the second-place team with the best record get byes in the first round while the other eight playoff qualifiers are ranked first to eighth depending on their records for opening-round games with the teams ranked first to fourth of those eight getting a home game. The four teams that had the first-round byes host quarter-final matches.
Sunday’s game was the final home game of the regular season for the Gryphs and they used it to honour their seniors. They also started their seniors – Modupe Okeowo, Ivana Vujadinovic, Sarah Holmes, Ashley Wheeler and Nyasha Mombeshora.
The Varsity Blues held an early four-point lead before the Gryphs went ahead with 11 consecutive points. However, the Varsity Blues battled back for a two-point lead late in the first half before the hosts shot ahead for good. They led 28-21 at the end of the first quarter, 44-39 at halftime and 62-57 after three quarters.
Okeowo led the Gryphs with 18 points while Skyla Minaker had 14, Vujadinovic 12 and Burke Bechard 10. Wheeler grabbed eight rebounds while Okeowo and Bechard had seven apiece. Minaker had 11 assists and three steals and Wheeler and Marielle Kleuskens each had two blocks.
Sarah Bennett collected 23 points for Toronto while Ellen Ougrinov had 21 with the held of shooting 5-of-9 on three-pointers. Nada Radonjic added 13 points and had 10 rebounds and Toronto’s lone block. Samantha Robertson hauled down 110 rebounds and Ougrinov also had two steals.
The Gryphs improve to 12-8 while the loss, Toronto’s seventh in a row, knocked the Varsity Blues down to 3-17.
Ottawa Gee-Gees are the lone team to have clinched first in a division. They’ve won 14 in a row and lead the East Division at 18-2. Brock Badgers and Ryerson are tied for the lead in the Central Division at 16-4.
Western Mustangs lead the West Division at 18-3 while Windsor Lancers are second at 16-4. Western has one game to go as they’re to host Windsor Saturday. If the Lancers beat the Waterloo Warriors, who are on a league-high eight-game losing streak, at Waterloo Friday night, that will turn Saturday’s game against Western into a first-place game with the winner finishing atop the division. Windsor opened the season with a 26-point win over the Mustangs at home Oct. 23.
The Gryphs have two games remaining, both against the Algoma Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie on the weekend. They’re to play both Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. at Algoma’s George Leach Centre.
The Thunderbirds are still in contention for a playoff berth, but have to win both games against Guelph to stand a chance at getting in. They’re currently fourth among the teams that are not in the top three in their division and only three of them get in. Lakehead Thunderwolves are third at 7-13 and will win a tie-breaker with Algoma. The Thunderwolves host the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (1-19) and Queen’s Gaels (13-7) at Thunder Bay on the weekend.
As for the Gryphs, they’re third in the West Division and fifth of the teams that will play first-round games. Top four of that group host first-round games. One of Brock, Ryerson or Windsor (all with 16-4 records) will be in that group as will the McMaster Marauders, Carleton Ravens and Queen’s (all with 13-7 records).
McMaster plays at Carleton and Ottawa on the weekend while Carleton also hosts Brock and Queen’s also plays the York Lions (10-10) at York.
There’ll be a lot of scoreboard watching on the weekend.
Gryphons 87 Varsity Blues 69
- Guelph Sports Journal