By:  April Luesby

Forward Stacey Poapst fights off Fanshawe in the gold game. She had four blocks during the game.

For the third time in a row, Thunder women’s basketball made history as one of the only three teams to win three straight Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) gold medals.

The Thunder played the Fanshawe Falcons for the gold medal on March 2 and won 74-42. Both teams will be moving on to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championships in Truro, N.S. March 15-17.

The Thunder also faced the Loyalist Lancers and the Algoma Thunderbirds during the OCAA provincial tournament hosted at Humber College Feb. 28-March 2.

On Feb. 28 the Thunder faced the Loyalist Lancers in the first round action. Both teams had a shaky start with neither side scoring a basket until just after the six minute mark. The Lancers showed some grit by making two steals from the Thunder, but it wasn’t enough. The Thunder still made a 7-2 lead before finding their offensive touch during the second quarter.

“We defended really well,” said head coach John MacInnis. “We just gotta play better offensively.”

The game turned for Algonquin when forward Stacey Poapst made her presence known on the court and stole the ball from the opposing team out of the air. She made two amazing blocks, and the Thunder found their confidence.

“We have an ability to score a lot of points,” said MacInnis. “We just could get any kind of flow offensively.”

The Thunder started the second quarter with an 8-0 run before the Lancers hit three to bring them back within eight points until the Thunder made another 6-0 run with under three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Algonquin had a 31-13 lead at half and continued to control the pace of the game until their 51-34 win.

Guard Abeer Farhat received player of the game honours for scoring seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

Algonquin moved on to face the Algoma Thunderbirds in a nail-biting game on March 1. The Thunder started strong with a 6-3 lead before Algoma lost their leading scorer Corina Bruni after a hard fall on her knee. Algoma did manage to pick it up during the second quarter and go on a 8-2 run to get back in the game. The teams were tied until Algonquin’s forward Sandre Bascoe pushed the score to 20-18 after a successful lay-up of her own.

“It could have gone either way,” said MacInnis. “We just wanted it more.”

At the start of the third quarter, the Thunder had a 5-0 run before Farhat made a three with less than six minutes remaining. Two plays by Algoma brought the Thunderbirds back within three, but Farhat made the game breaker when she hit another jumper and the Thunder went on a 9-2 run.

The Thunder won by 60-38 to guarantee themselves a spot at nationals.

Bascoe received player of the game honours as she finished with 20 points, six rebounds, two blocks and five steals.

Not only can the women boast an undefeated season record, Abeer Farhat and Sandre Bascoe received special recognition from the OCAA when they became part of the East first-team all-stars. Farhat was also named OCAA East defensive player of the year, contributing 85 rebounds, 40 steals and two blocks.

“It gets a lot tougher from here on in,” said Ron Port, director of athletic operations.

MacInnis said the women would “Prep hard for two weeks and see what we can do down in Nova Scotia.”