KINGSTON, Ont. - The Sheridan Bruins women's basketball team (23-10, 16-5 OCAA) is back at the OCAA Championship for the first time since 2014 and will take on Niagara (12-9 OCAA) for the third time this season in the quarter-final (Feb. 28, 8pm).
"We're familiar with them and they're familiar with us, so it really just comes down to which team can execute better," head coach Sean Douglas said. "We're prepared, we're focused, and I'm excited to see how we rise to the challenge that championship basketball presents."
The Bruins swept the season series between the two sides, but they were both by narrow margins. In the first meeting on Dec. 6 in Welland, the Double Blue overcame a sluggish start - they put up just 18 points in the first half - before pulling away in the fourth quarter to earn a 57-53 win.
In the Sheridan home leg on Jan. 31 there was a similar narrative, as the Bruins trailed by as many as 10 in a slow first half where they scored just 21 points. But they once again took over late, outscoring Niagara 47-31 in the final two periods to secure a 68-61 win.
Niagara ranks ninth in the OCAA with a per game scoring average of 62.9, while they are 12th at the defensive end, allowing the exact same 62.9 per contest. Over the 20-game regular season, they scored and allowed exactly 1,257 points.
Shutting down Niagara's Bridget Atkinson will be of paramount importance for the Bruins. The fourth-year guard was second in the league with 19.2 points per game and has been on a tear in the second half of the season, averaging 24.7 in 10 games, including 29 in a Round of 16 win at George Brown.
The Knights are 9-2 this year when she scores at least 20 points and are 5-0 when she scores at least 24. Hannah Baker is the only other Niagara player to average double figures, scoring 11.2 per game.