The Mustangs basketball teams are entering this weekend hot, with the women’s team at 6–0 and the men’s team at 4–2, but will face their biggest challenge so far in the Gee-Gees and the Ravens.
Western University makes the road trip to the nation’s capital on Friday, where they’ll face two of the best teams in Ontario University Athletics — the Carleton University Ravens and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
The Mustangs, Gee-Gees and Ravens have all seen similar success this season. Each school’s men’s and women’s teams have been winning games because of strong individual performances and team averages.
In the men’s division, Western fifth-year forward Aryan Sharma leads the OUA in points per game, averaging 22. Not far behind him is Carleton guard Aiden Warnholtz, who’s averaging 19.4 points per game — good enough for fourth in the conference.
The Mustangs’ strong shooting also comes from second-year forward Matteo Zagar, who is currently second in the OUA, shooting 60.5 per cent from the field. Gee-Gees forward Brock Newton trails in the standings, sitting fourth in the OUA with a 59.3 field goal percentage.
On the other end, the women’s games will feature three of the conference’s best teams. The Mustangs remain in first place in the OUA with their perfect record, but the Gee-Gees are close behind in third — and like Western, still undefeated. The Ravens are currently sixth.
All three teams are offensively talented, but Western still has the upper hand heading into the weekend despite Ottawa and Carleton also having talented players.
The Mustangs are third in the OUA in points per game, averaging 78 as a team and miles ahead of their upcoming opponents. The Gee-Gees are seventh, averaging 69. The Ravens are eighth, averaging 68.2.
It’s not hard to pick out the notable individual matchups for this weekend. Ravens guard Kali Pocrnic is second in the OUA for points per game, averaging 21.2, while Mustangs fourth-year guard Ariane Saumure is averaging 17.8 — sixth in the conference.
Gee-Gees forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu also leads the OUA in field goal percentage, shooting 62.3 per cent — a player Western will want to gameplan against.
Mustangs third-year wing Ashley Truesdale is tied for fourth in the conference in three-point percentage, shooting 60 per cent from deep. Truesdale has been coming off the bench this season, but she didn’t miss a three last weekend during Western’s home-opening series.
This weekend’s series of games in Ottawa is set to be the most exciting weekend of the season, featuring some of the province’s best players and teams going head-to-head.
Western’s women’s team enters the weekend undefeated on the season, while the men’s team rides in on a four-game winning streak.
The Mustangs have been rolling, but this will be their biggest test so far.
Friday’s tip-off against the Gee-Gees for the women’s team is 6 p.m. at Montpetit Hall, followed by the men’s team’s game at 8 p.m.. Western will then head across town to play the Ravens on Saturday night at the Ravens’ Nest.