The Laurentian Voyageurs and Queen's Gaels went to the wire on Saturday evening as the Gaels squeezed by with a 76-73 victory.
It was a nightmarish start for the Voyageurs as the Gaels opened the match on a 10-0 run. The Gaels shot 42.7% in the quarter which helped them to outscore the Voyageurs 25-13 when the first quarter came to a close. However, the Vees came out strong in the second quarter.
They made it a six point game with 2:58 left in the quarter via the offensive efforts of Bailey Tabin, Héléna Lamoureux, Maria La Rosa, Kayla Deschatelets, Sidney Crawford and Zoe Hutchins. They shot 50.0% as a team and consequently outscored the Gaels 19-17 in the quarter but unfortunately, were no able to draw level with their foe by the end of first half. Deschatelets had an extremely noteworthy play late in the second half when she danced her way around four Gael defenders to score a layup.
Next, in similar fashion to how they started the second quarter, the Voyageurs came out strong in the third. Gabby Scahffner's early buckets gave them the springboard they required to cut the lead to just seven and then to five via two converted free throws by Lamoureux. Unfortunately though, Scahffner's eight points in the quarter would not be enough the give the Voyageurs the lead as the quarter came to an end with the Gaels up by 9 points.
But, the last quarter of the match proved to be a nail-biter. The Voyageurs made their charge. Early buckets from Deschatelets, Lamoureux, and Crawford put the Voyageurs level at 60-60 with 8:20 minutes left in the match. Crawford would then give the Voyageurs the lead they so desperately craved with her two made free throws. But the Gaels responded and took the lead right back only about a minute later. Deschateletes was not having any of it as she got the Voyageurs their lead back with her two converted free throws. But once again, the Gaels responded and regained a three point lead and this is where Tabin stood up for the Voyageurs. She converted her next three shots to put the Voyageurs up by one with just 52 seconds left in the game. Following, both teams turned over the ball but only the Gaels managed to score and eventually opened a three point lead with the Voyageurs awarded the last possession of the game. The Vees did manage a three point attempt to tie the game but the ball off the rim and out to break the hearts of the Voyageurs and their fans.
Tabin admitted the gritty nature of the game and thanked the fans for their support which helped them raise their spirits and play at their highest level, post-game: "It was a tough game but we stayed in it. In saying that, it could have gone both ways. It was close; down to the second really. If we just made the shots earlier in the game or made our free throws, just the little details but we still stayed in as a team and the fans were awesome; they really helped bring the energy up."
"Next week in practices, we're going to practice more on pressured situations. Just working hard, putting up those extra shots, keep doing what we're doing because right now we're actually looking upwards, it's a full season for us," she commented, expressing her team's next steps and their positive trajectory.
The Voyageurs will now look to get back into the win column when they host the Windsor Lancers on Friday, November 1st at 6 pm at the Ben Avery Gymnasium.