For the first time this season, the Niagara Knights women's basketball program finds themselves a part of the OCAA rankings. In the OCAA's most recent updated rankings, the Knights were named the number 10 program in the province. After a rough start to the season, the Knights are enjoying a three-game winning streak and will look to continue that streak when they host the Fanshawe Falcons on Friday night.
The Fanshawe Falcons enter the matchup with the Knights owning a 7-1 record and sit at the very top of the OCAA's rankings. The Falcons are scoring an average of 80.4 points per game but are only allowing 50.5 points against. On top of their impressive margin of points for and against, the Falcons are also grabbing an average of 50.5 rebounds per game and are dishing out 19.8 assists per game.
Since 1975 the Knights and the Falcons have gone head to head 66 times. Over that period, the Knights have a 16-50 record against Fanshawe and are looking for their first victory since January 24th, 2015 when the Knights won 60-56 at Fanshawe. The Falcons sole loss this season came against the St. Clair Saints, whom the Knights defeated back on November 17th thanks to a last second three-pointer by Hannah Baker (Thorold).
A side story of the game is the return of Mary Ingribelli to the Welland gym. Ingribelli, who is now a member of the Falcons, spent the previous four seasons with the Knights where she became the second leading scorer in Knights history. Through her four seasons in a Knights uniform, she recorded 903 points in 74 games and broke the single season scoring record last season when she scored 382 points. So far this year with the Falcons, Ingribelli is averaging 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.
Bridget Atkinson (Welland) is having an extremely impressive campaign in her first season with the Knights thus far. The former OUA Rookie of the Year is averaging 16.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists in her first season in the OCAA. So far this season, the Knights are 5-0 when Atkinson scores 15 or more points and are 0-3 when she doesn't.
Alannah Yates (Hamilton) will look to continue her positive play of late. The first year forward has scored double-digit points in every game during the Knights current win streak. Yates had a career game against St. Clair, scoring 18-points, thanks in part to being on fire from behind the arc where she drained four of nine three-point attempts.
The Niagara Knights will host the Fanshawe Falcons at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre on Friday night. The women's match will begin at 6pm while the men's game will begin shortly after the conclusion of the first game. The game will be broadcast live and can be watched here.