By the end of Saturday, we will have a very clear map of the OUA playoff picture. For the four potential playoff bye teams, it will be some well-deserved time off.
In the OUA West, if they win out, the Windsor Lancers (18–2) will clinch their third straight division title. If that does happen, the Western Mustangs (17–3) will be narrowly denied the title for the third straight year, but will have a week off to prepare for a home playoff game.
The Lancers should be especially proud this week because their schedule has been a tough one. They played and won all three of their contests, including a makeup game against the McMaster Marauders (5–14) Feb. 6.
That contest in Hamilton, a 63–46 belting, was a slow start for the Lancers with only eight points in the first frame. The rest of the game was textbook Lancer basketball: they shot 41 per cent for the game, grabbed 55 rebounds, and and allowed 22 turnovers. Lancer standout Jessica Clemencon led all scorers with 23 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
The week for the Lancers had three games in seven days, and you would wonder if they would come into any of the latter games and be a little sluggish. Not these ladies. On Feb. 9, the Lancers made the Waterloo Warriors (0–20) tap out with a 89–40 smackdown. Clemencon scored 24 in that game. She followed that up with 18 points and five rebounds in the follow-up game, a 66–60 win against the Laurier Golden Hawks (12–7). Clemencon is definitely going to get some praise from either the OUA or her school for her leadership this season.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs kept pace, also beating the Marauders and Warriors, 66–46 and 83–37 respectively. In the Marauder matchup, three players, led by Jenny Vaughan, Katelyn Leddy and Beckie Williams, posted double-figure points. They also shot 41 per cent as a team. Against the Warriors, the blowout was dictated by a 56–17 first half score. The carnage eventually led to some soft garbage time towards the end of the game.
In the east, the top three teams are carbon copies of their male counterparts. The Carleton Ravens (18-3) are the cream of this year’s crop, the Toronto Varsity Blues (17–4) are in second and expected to be the second bye team, and the surging Ottawa Gee-Gees (13–8) are nipping at a number of heels.
This weekend, the Blues did what the guys couldn’t do: beat the Ravens and Gee-Gees in consecutive games, 54–49 and 64–53. Not too shabby. Nicki Schutz had 22 and 25 points each game, providing a spark on a team that has several confident leaders.
The drama that is the post-season is still a couple weekends away, but the Blues do have something in their pocket against the Ottawa hub of basketball. Let's see if they can do it again when it counts.