(OSHAWA, ON) – The St Clair women’s basketball team came from behind Saturday night, in Oshawa, to defeat the Durham Lords 73-58. By doing so they have punched their ticket to the OCAA championship tournament being hosted by Niagara College in Welland, starting today.
The Saints will now face the Humber Hawks, who rank 2nd in the country with an unblemished 18-0 record.
St Clair started slow against Durham as the home team took an early 11-4 lead and closed the first quarter up 18-8. The Saints responded in the second quarter to take a brief 25-24 lead, but Durham answered right back and held a 10-point edge with under 20 seconds to go in the half.
However, St Clair forced 3 turnovers in those final first half seconds and entered the break down just 35-29.
The Saints carried the momentum into the second half and outscored Durham 23-16 in the third quarter. St Clair then sealed the game in the final frame by holding the Lords to just 7 points while scoring 21 of their own.
St Clair had a decided advantage on the glass, out-rebounding Durham 56-37 and scoring 26 second-chance points in the game. The Saints were also near perfect at the free throw line, shooting 17-for-18 in the contest.
St Clair’s 2nd-year forward Torrie Handsor had a team-high 17 points, completing a double-double with 11 rebounds and adding a pair of blocked shots for good measure.
Fifth-year guard Jaide Lyons scored 15 points to go with 4 rebounds and 4 steals while Shannon Kennedy returned from injury to score 12 points and pulled down 8 boards and adding 3 assists and 3 steals.
Second-year forward Nicole Tamm chipped in with 10 points and narrowly missed a double-double with 9 rebounds.
St Clair held OCAA leading scorer Lindsay Panchan to 17 points on 5-for-17 shooting, but she was a force in the game pulling down 12 rebounds while going 7-for-7 from the free throw line for Durham.
The Saints are now 9-0 against Durham in this crossover playoff game.
St Clair will now join seven other teams from around the province in Welland for the OCAA Championships. The three day event will kicked off today with a breakfast banquet where the OCAA All-Stars and Award Winners were announced.
Lyons was recognized as a West Region 1st Team All-Star while Kennedy reached All-Star status for the 3rd time after being named to the West Region’s 2nd Team. Kennedy is St Clair’s all-time leading scorer and averaged 13.3 points per game this season.
The games themselves began at 1:00pm today with the Saints taking on the Humber Hawks. St Clair fell to Humber 90-81 and will face the loser between Fanshawe and St Lawrence, on Friday, for entry to the Consolation Final.
Regardless of their finish in Welland, the Saints will host the CCAA National Championships starting on March 16 at the Sportsplex. Eight teams from across the country will compete for supremacy in women’s college basketball.
Championship play for the Nationals will begin March 17 with St Clair electing to play their opening round game at 6:00pm.
Semi-finals will be played March 18 with the Gold Medal game tipping at 8:30pm Saturday, March 19, to decide Canada’s National Crown, and will be followed by closing ceremonies wrapping up the championship.
All 13 games in addition to the All-Canadian Banquet will be streamed live on WE-TV.
In other basketball action the St Clair men’s team closed out their season despite a valiant fourth quarter comeback. The men came up just a little short in their crossover playoff game at Algonquin College in Ottawa on Saturday night, losing 74-71.
The loss ends the season for the Saints who finish with a 7-12 record in OCAA play.