Friday, September 26, 2008

Breaking news: Hoops Gaels lose Firmi

I learned just this afternoon that Teddi Firmi, the star point guard for the Queen's women's basketball team and last year's OUA East Defensive Player of the Year ["Women's teams exit early," myself, Queen's Journal, February 29, 2008], has decided to quit basketball and join the women's rugby team. She'll be playing her first match with them tomorrow on the road against the McMaster Marauders.

This is a big loss for the basketball team. Firmi was their starting point guard last year, and demonstrated a tremendous ability to control the flow of the game and find the open player. She could score as well, but her greatest talent was on defence, where she was an almost-unparalled stopper. The team has a lot of promising young players, though, so it will be interesting to see if any of them can step up and fill her shoes. It's going to be a very different women's hoops squad this year, as they've lost their best defensive player in Firmi and their best offensive player in Sarah Barnes, who's actually still doing graduate studies at Queen's but has used up all of her eligibility.

Basketball's loss could be a big gain for the rugby team, though. Firmi has quite a reputation as a rugby player, and played internationally for Canada at the U19 level [Alex Goff, Goff on Rugby,, July 1, 2004]. If she's still got those skills, she might be a tremendous addition to the 2-1 rugby Gaels. It's a short season, though, so there's no room for a learning curve: after Saturday's tilt, Queen's only plays one more regular-season game at Guelph on October 4 before the playoffs.

According to my source, Firmi decided to switch sports because of the shorter season: she's in her fourth year, and apparently wants to spend more time on volunteer projects. Rugby wraps up by the end of October, whereas basketball goes until at least February and possibly March if you make the nationals.

Firmi isn't the only Gael to switch sports this year: Karlye Wong, who played libero for the women's volleyball team last season, has also transferred to the rugby team and has been doing well thus far.

I'll hopefully have more details on this in next Friday's Journal.

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