Jenny Wright ended the season in spectacular fashion Saturday night, scoring 28 points for the Queen’s Golden Gaels in a 75-70 loss to the Toronto Blues in an Ontario University Athletics women’s basketball game at the Athletics and Recreation Centre.
For Wright, playing the final regular season game of a splendid five-year intercollegiate career at Queen’s, it was a season-best performance, and her second-best game, lifetime, only to a 35-point night Jan. 31, 2015 at Western.
The fifth-year nursing science student from Regiopolis Notre Dame was 5-for-8 from beyond the three-point arc. She also collected nine rebounds to go with two assists, five steals and four blocks.
“That is what she's done her whole career,” Gaels coach Dave Wilson said, in a release. “She's an outstanding athlete and when she goes at it, she's hard to stop. (Tonight) she shot the three extremely well, she attacked the rim well—she’s a real threat from anywhere on the basketball court.”
For the No. 9-ranked Gaels, however, Saturday’s defeat was the second loss in a row, after their five-game winning streak came to an end Friday night in a 66-61 setback to the East division-leading Ryerson Rams, the fourth-ranked team in Canada.
Against the Blues, Emily Hazlett scored 13 points for Queen’s, while Rahshida Atkinson led all scorers with 32 points for Toronto, which won for the second game in a row.
“We were flat,” Wilson said. “We hoped we could come out with a bit more energy after (the loss to Ryerson), but it just wasn't there.
“We had spurts but couldn't maintain it.”
For the second night in a row things went terribly at the start for the Gaels, who missed 11 of their first 12 field goal attempts. They found their collective shooting eye before the first quarter ended, however, but the visitors still led 16-13 at the end of the period. With Queen’s shooting less than 29 per cent in the first half, the Blues took a 30-29 lead into the break.
A 13-6 run propelled Toronto into a 10-point lead late in the third quarter, but a three-point basket by Hazlett as the period ended cut the Queen’s deficit to 54-50 going into the final 10 minutes.
The Toronto lead bounced between five and 10 points for most of the quarter, as a basket by Marianne Alarie with 90 seconds left lifted the Gaels within three points at 68-65, and another by Hazlett again drew Queen’s within three points with 30 seconds to play.
A three-pointer by Hazlett made it 72-70 with 15 seconds left but the Blues closed out the win from the foul line, from where they made five of eight free throws in the final 30 seconds.
In a ragged contest, the teams combined to turn the ball over 50 times. Queen’s out-rebounded the Blues 52-32, including 32-11 under the Gaels’ glass. Robyn Pearson, with 13, and Andrea Priamo, with 12, each reached double figures in rebounds for Queen’s.
On Friday night, Hazlett led all scorers with a season-best 19 points, while Pearson scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Silvana Jez and Sofia Paska each had 14 points as Ryerson, 16-3, avenged a Queen’s victory in Toronto in January.
The Gaels didn’t score for almost seven minutes to start the game, a stretch where they missed their first six shots and turned the ball over five times. Queen’s trailed 32-21 at halftime but the Gaels quickly drew within five points of the lead early in the third quarter. A 15-4 run cut Ryerson’s lead to 42-38 but the Rams closed the period by scoring eight of the last nine points.
The Gaels couldn’t catch Ryerson after that, despite outscoring the visitors 22-16 in the fourth quarter.
The Gaels, who finished second in the East division, will begin playoffs this week. Post-season seeding and first-round opponents have yet to be determined.