The Casa Loma Athletic Centre was host to a rematch for the ages on Friday night when the Algonquin Thunder (11-1, 1st in East) rolled into town. In the teams' first meeting of the season back in November in Ottawa, the Thunder squeaked out a narrow 67-61 win after a tight back and forth affair.
Friday was a different story however with George Brown (9-3, 3rd in East) rallying back from a 20 point halftime deficit to upset the province's #1 ranked women's basketball team, handing the Thunder their first loss of the regular season in the thrilling comeback.
The first quarter saw both teams neck and neck, with the Huskies holding a slight 18-15 edge coming out of the frame. The second quarter was night and day however for the home squad, who went stone cold and managed to convert on only two field goals and knock down two free throws in the 10-minute stanza, for an eight point total output. That, compared to an electrified Thunder team who turned the energy level up and tallied 31 points, behind 19 from Michaela Branker and 12 from Rita Sibo in the quarter.
The halftime break would do the Huskies justice, as the coaching staff reminded their team to get back to the original game plan. "In the second quarter we were doing things outside of the game plan, which led to the 20 point deficit", said assistant coach Omari Wiltshire. "At half time, we talked about sticking to our plan, mainly being more disciplined on the defensive end to force some turnovers and missed shots that would allow us to get back into the game."
And get back into the game they did, in dramatic fashion. Victoria Lawrence would on her own go on a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter after the Huskies forced Algonquin into early turnovers. It would be sweet retribution for the second year transfer from Algonquin, who fouled out with two minutes remaining in the teams' first encounter in the Fall. Lawrence would finish on Friday with a near triple-double, recording 14 points, 13 rebounds and 8 steals.
The Huskies would also then close the quarter on a 7-0 run, heading into the final frame down only 52-48 after holding the Thunder to a meager 6 points.
The fourth quarter would see more of the same, with the Huskies continuing to shut the Thunder down possession after possession while also knocking down shots through a well balanced offence. Veteran Zae Sellers would lead that offense for George Brown, recording 11 of her 19 points in the the final quarter including three free throws in the final minutes to seal the huge come from behind victory.
Effective full court pressure and solid half court defense combined with a balanced attack of outside shooting from Sellers (19 pts, four 3s) and Rachel Steer (9 points, three 3s), and interior play from Coco Sauve (10 pts on 3-4 shooting, 4-6 from the line) allowed George Brown to outscore Algonquin by a commanding 29 points in the second half on route to a final 72-63 win.
Miss the game live? Watch the full comeback on our LiveStream On Demand page!
Next up, the Huskies hit the road to visit the St Lawrence Vikings and Loyalist Lancers on February 7-8th.