Ladies ready to pull the trigger
By Mike Sikorski
With a perfect season under its belt, the Western women's basketball team wants to accomplish something that has eluded it for a number of years an OWIAA title.
This year the Mustangs have posted an undefeated regular season record and have held on to their first-place national ranking for most of the season. However, the playoffs, beginning in Waterloo this weekend, will be a whole new ball game for these ladies who will have to face new competition from the East division.
Fresh off a 72-58 win over Windsor to start off the month of March, the Mustangs will see if they can take their regular season play to the playoff hardcourt. Although Western had one tournament loss to the Toronto Varsity Blues early in the school year, the team feels there is no specific school which will be its main competition.
"Any team in the playoffs is a worry," Western assistant coach Don Coleman said. "If they come in ranked lower than us, they have nothing to lose. On the other hand, we have been playing teams ranked lower than us all year long and have won, but the playoffs are a whole different ball game."
Western will have its first test of the tournament against Ottawa which may turn out to be a surprising matchup, with the Mustangs not playing the Gee Gees yet this year.
"All of the teams will play us tough," forward Tanneke Blaauboer said. "We just have to take it one game at a time and right now we have our sights set on Ottawa."
Some of the main fire power from the Western lineup comes from an impressive running game that once rolling, has teams helpless to defend against it.
"It [the running game] is our intensity and sets the tempo," Blaauboer stated. "There are some teams who follow the pace of the game and we are one of those teams that set it."
Western's rookies have made their presence known and have adjusted extremely well to university-calibre ball but will have to adjust to the pressure of post-season play.
"Sure [the rookies are] a bit nervous going into the playoffs, but the older players have helped us so much all year long we have confidence in their leadership," first-year guard Sonya Doherty said.
One of the most pleasant surprises of the season is the return of forward Nadia Pezzolo, who missed last season to study in France.
"Nadia has controlled the boards both offensively and defensively that is something that any team can use," team captain Angela Nobes said. "She is an excellent role model and player."
This team differs from almost any team in the league because almost every player, starting or off the bench, can come up big and score which will be a nightmare to any opposing team's defence.
With undaunted talent, the Mustangs only concern is not a question of preventing other teams from beating them but rather, being sure they don't beat themselves.
"With us coming off of a perfect season with a good mentality and as long as we keep up our confidence, we'll be unbeatable," Nobes said.
I'M PLAYING BAH-SKIT-BAWL!!! Little Angie (Nobes) struts down the court during Western's 72-58 demolition of the Windsor Lancers Saturday.