VICTORIA—The UVic Vikes women’s basketball team dropped their first game of the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament 64-62 to the Ottawa Gee Gees on September 29.

The game came down to the very last shot, with the Gee Gees prevailing after Danielle Marion scored with just seconds left in the game.

The Vikes showed great resiliency throughout the contest. They only led the game for a brief period of time at the start of the first and near the end of the fourth quarters. Despite that, the Vikes continued to battle and more than held their own against the Gee Gees, a team that went all the CIS national championship tournament last year.

“I liked our resiliency. It is more of a case where we want to do better at the start of games and not have to come back. That’s a problem that we had last year too. It can be a lot of fun but it’s also not how we want to play,” said Dani Sinclair, Vikes head coach.

One of the keys for the Vikes as they prepare to host the CIS national championships in March is going to be how they can improve on their team depth. A new player that stood out to Sinclair as having a strong game was first-year Aleah Ashlee.

“I thought Aleah came in and contributed well for us, she hit a couple big three pointers. She brings some length defensively and a lot of energy so she should be a good spark for us,” said Sinclair.

Ashlee finished the game with six points, one block and one steal in 19 minutes on the court.

While the exhibition loss won’t matter in any official sense for the Vikes, Sinclair was able to see things that she knows her team can improve as the season goes on.

“Lots of things can get better. And that’s to be expected this time of year. I thought our execution of late game scenarios was not great,” said Sinclair. “Them scoring on a back-door screen to end the game is obviously not ideal. We hope to be in a lot of close games with good teams and we need to be better at executing.”

The game was a back and forth affair all night long, with the Gee Gees just looking slightly more composed through the first three quarters.

The Vikes resiliency was outstanding on the night though. Every time that the Gee Gees made a big play to increase their lead the Vikes would answer right back.

What looks promising for the Vikes was that it was multiple people responding for them.

While veterans Nicole KarsteinJenna Bugiardini and Jenna Krug all had their customarily strong games, Ashlee, Marissa Dheensaw and Paige Thomson also chipped in for the Vikes on both ends of the court.

The game  came alive in fourth quarter, a Vikes offence that struggled on the evening really started to move the ball quickly and find holes in the Gee Gees defence.

With just three seconds left to go and the game tied, the Vikes were called for an offensive foul, gifting Ottawa the ball on the Vikes side of half. The Gee Gees made no mistake with that opportunit. A well executed screen left Danielle Marion all alone beneath the hoop, and her lay-up would win the game.

With the game being just the third exhibition match of the season for the Vikes, some rust was to be expected. That rust was most evident on the offensive side of the ball as the teams combined to commit 42 turnovers in the contest.

Next up for the Vikes is another game at home in the CARSA Performance Gym on October 1. The Vikes will be looking to end their Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament with one win and one loss when they take on the UNBC Timberwolves.

UVIC: 11-15-18-18 : 62
OTT: 13-17-24-10 : 64

UVICJenna Bugiardini (13), Nicole Karstein (10),  Jenna Krug (10)
OTT:  Kalina Alexander-Ren (12), Sarah Besselink (11), Melina Wishart (11)