Volume 91, Issue 48

Friday, November 21, 1997

party poop


Basketball women set to rumble

By Ian Ross
Gazette Staff

Geoff Robins/Gazette
DOES ANYONE SMELL BURNING RUBBER? With a high-energy, full-press attack, Mustang captain Angela Nobes [7] will need a new pair of shoes by the end of the season.

Geoff Robins/Gazette
BELIEVE IT OR NOT I'M WALKING ON AIR. Assistant captain Jenn Haylor [14] will be looked upon to lift her team to a higher altitude come playoff time.

Like a good wine, the Mustang women's basketball team is perfectly aged and ready to complement another run for the national championship heading into regular season this weekend.

Capturing bronze at the nationals last winter in Thunder Bay after an undefeated regular season, the return of the entire starting line-up should add the final ingredient the team needs – experience – to return north to take home the gold.

Following a similar game plan as last year, the team picked up where they left off, recording a 12-1 record through the pre-season, losing only to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

"I was really happy with what transpired during the preseason," head coach Bob Delaney said. "We took it slow on the team. Even though we are a veteran team, I wanted to give everyone a chance to prove themselves."

Veteran Angela Nobes, a fifth-year point guard, returns to lead the squad in her second year as the team's captain. The winner of the F.W.P. Jones Trophy (awarded to the most outstanding female athlete at Western) and an OWIAA all-star last year, Nobes will once again lend her leadership and experience in hopes of making the final step to a national championship which has alluded her through her entire varsity career.

"The return of Angela gives them someone who can deliver, score and keep the composer of the team," Guelph head coach Angela Orton said. "They are more talented this year with a good balance in scoring."

Adding to the threat in the backcourt will be second-year guards Cindy Scott and Sonia Doherty. Immediately recognizing their raw talents last season, Delaney pushed both of them to gain valuable experience at the varsity level and will now reap the rewards of a well-rounded experienced line-up.

"After the end of the season, both of them knew what they had to work on and came back with stronger ball handling and shooting skills," he said. "It's unfortunate we only have one position for the two of them."

Under the basket, forward Tanneke Blaauboer and assistant captains Nadia Pezzolo and Jenn Haylor, will provide the team with a well-rounded scoring threat. All three were vital components of last year's Canadian bronze medal team and will be looked to for their excellent court vision and experience in pressure-packed games to carry the team far into March.

Orton was quick to point out that there are few weak spots on the Mustangs. "You can't just shut down one player," she said. "Any team's decision-making will need to be perfect across the board if they hope to defeat them."

The only notable loss to graduation over the off-season was forward Lori Bartolotta, who played a key role coming off the bench most of the season.

"We were looking for people to fill that role and we have a couple rookies who have done that really well so far," Haylor said.

This overall high level of experience the team possesses is a weapon many coaches around the league worry about.

"They will be the team to beat," Orton said. "Their experience over the years puts them in the driver's seat in our division."

Western will open the season in Waterloo tomorrow against the Athenas at 1 p.m..

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997