Queen’s Golden Gaels didn’t have stars in their eyes Saturday. Instead, they had the Windsor Lancers in their sights.
With a withering defensive performance and a 25-point fourth quarter, the Gaels defeated the five-time defending national champion Lancers 60-41 in an Ontario University Athletics women’s basketball game in Toronto’s Enercare Centre.
The game was the afternoon centrepiece of the fan festival associated with the National Basketball Association’s all-star game, and both teams struggled early with the unfamiliar court. Windsor came out of the first quarter with a 12-9 lead, but in one of the lowest scoring halves of the intercollegiate season, Queen’s led 24-19 at halftime.
Andrea Priamo had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Gaels, who won their fourth game in a row, to improve to 13-3 and move into sole possession of first place in the East division, two points ahead of Ryerson, a 103-35 winner Saturday night over Algoma.
Jenny Wright led all scorers with 14 points for Queen’s, most of which came on three consecutive three-point baskets in the middle of the first half, the last of which tied the game early in the second quarter.
The Gaels, who trailed by as many as seven points early in the game, took the lead for good at 18-17 when Priamo put back the rebound of a missed Robyn Pearson free throw three minutes into the second quarter.
Down six at halftime, Windsor drew within a point of the lead late in the third quarter, but the period ended with Queen’s holding a six-point lead at 35-29. There was no scoring in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter but the Gaels then embarked on a 9-2 run that had them ahead by 15 points with five minutes to play.
The Lancers, a team that hadn’t scored fewer than 60 points in a game this year, did nothing to threaten the lead. In the last 17 minutes of the game, they scored just 16 points.
“I’m really proud with how the players came out in the second half and dominated the play,” Queen’s coach Dave Wilson said, in a release. “(Tough defence) has been the style of play that we’ve had all year, but we’ve gone to a little bit more pressure on the perimeter. That’s worked really well for us and today was probably one of our best defensive efforts, overall.”
Windsor committed 20 turnovers, from which Queen’s scored 18 points.
“We were really excited with the high energy environment,” Priamo said. “We always play well in those types of games. We get our energy from our defence; when we’re getting stops we’re getting scores, too.”
Cheyanne Roger and Carly Steer had 12 points and seven rebounds apiece for the 10th-ranked Lancers, who had won five in a row but fell to 12-5, still good for second place in the West division.
The Gaels will travel to Sault Ste. Marie to face Algoma when their schedule resumes Saturday.