THUNDER BAY – The Lakehead Thunderwolves basketball teams will head to Ottawa this weekend for what has perennially been the toughest duo of match-ups in OUA league play for many teams: the Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Ravens will host the T-Wolves on Friday night, followed by hospitality at Montpettit Hall on Saturday provided by the Gee-Gees. Game times are 6 & 8 pm.
The Ravens are nationally ranked #1 on the men’s side, and #5 for the women’s team. The Gee-Gees, while not in the Top 10, are still a very tough out at home.
The women’s team looks to bounce back after a tough overtime loss in the Thunderdome last weekend.
Against Carleton, 5th year point guard Alyson Bush and forward Kendall MacLeod will be the focus for the Lakehead defense. Bush has scored 12.5 PPG this year and MacLeod has averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds per game. Another key player for Carleton is 3rd year shooter Krista Van Slingerland, who has hit on 11 of her 25 3-point attempts this year (44%).
As for the Ottawa matchup, 2nd year Kellie Ring is the key player in their offense, but 2nd year post Maddie Stephen is a also a big concern, averaging a double-double (12.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game). On the outside, shooters Tatiana Hanlan & Jenna Gilbert are also threats that Lakehead will have to keep in check to be successful.
Lakehead coach Jon Kreiner comments, “The Ottawa/Carleton series is a a tough test for any team, but when you get a chance to play great teams you also get a chance to raise your level of play and challenge your players to rise to the occasion. Our goals this weekend are to put out a full 80 minutes of effort equal to what we put out in last Friday’s 4th quarter vs Queens. Physical play, battling on the boards on every possession and playing to our strengths are our keys this weekend.”
While Lakehead’s men’s team is still clutching to the #9 ranking nationally, they have many other priorities ahead of rankings. Namely, how to slow down the well oiled machine that is the Carleton Ravens, led by Tyson Hinz and Philip Scrubb. Hinz is shooting 63% from the field with 17.2 PPG and grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game while playing an average of 33 minutes per contest. Scrubb is scoring at a 19.5 PPG clip, and also playing 33 minutes per game and has connected on 14 of his 32 long range attempts thus far (44%).
The Gee-Gees are led by Johnny Berhanemeskel, who is averaging 21 PPG and 5th year veteran Warren Ward, who has put in 14.5 PPG thus far in 2012-13 OUA season play.
For Lakehead, they will be without forward Anthony McIntosh who suffered a nasty ankle sprain against Toronto two weeks ago, and Ryan Thomson’s status is still listed as day-to-day.
Lakehead’s veterans have been doing their best to fill in the gaps left by Thomson and McIntosh, but will have to dig a little deeper this weekend if they hope to turn things around in these marquis matchups.
Lakehead coach Scott Morrison shares, “While we have not gotten the quick start we had hoped for in OUA play, we must remember that our goal for this season was to be playing our best basketball in February and March. We have to find our comfort zone on the defensive end as well as increase our urgency in transition and on the glass. Things are not getting any easier for us this weekend with two formidable opponents. Like it or not, our early season struggles have given us a needed wake-up call and I am expecting improved play from our team this weekend.”
Game times are 6 pm (women) & 8 pm (men) both evenings.