Women win opener
By Alan Russette
Head coach Bob Delaney of the Western women's basketball team received an early birthday gift on Saturday as the team opened up their regular season on the road with a 65-45 win against the University of Waterloo Athenas.
Western's defence dominated the game, particularly in the early going, forcing turnovers which gave the offence chances to open a big lead.
Mustang guard Sonya Doherty took advantage of the openings and was on fire in the first half scoring 12 of her 14 points. However, the rest of the 'Stangs offensive unit lost their rhythm midway through the first half, shooting an anemic 33 per cent from the field, making sloppy entry passes and turning the ball over. This allowed the Athenas to close within six points before Western was finally able to pull away 36-21 at the half. Jodi Hawley was the bright spot for the Athenas, scoring eight of her team-high 12 points in the first half.
Western's normally explosive offence continued to struggle as the game progressed, particularly whenever team captain Angela Nobes was on the bench, at one point going almost five minutes without a basket.
Nobes attributed the inconsistencies in the offence to opening-game jitters.
"I think people were pretty antsy," she said. "We had a pretty slow first half and we're going to have to emphasize playing a full 40 minutes from now on."
Nobes, who quietly contributed nine points in the first half, took over in the latter part of the second half, finishing with a game-high 20 points, including four baskets from three-point territory.
Western's bench also played a large role in the game's outcome as forward Adriana Pompa scored eight points in 18 minutes of playing time while forward Holli Clarkson made her presence felt on the offensive glass.
"This was the game you wanted to win," Delaney said. "Preseason is one thing, but this is the regular season now and you have to win the divisional games. Waterloo always plays us really tough here, but we did a good job containing their shooters."
Doherty's regular season debut as a starter proved to be a success, especially in the early going. Offensively, she poured in 14 points and on defence the second-year player grabbed six rebounds and made five steals.
"Sonya's a defensive animal," Nobes said of her new back-court partner. "She worked really hard in the off-season. She's got a really consistent shot and I'd actually put her just behind Jen Haylor in terms of consistency."
The Mustangs will spend their Christmas break practicing in Orlando, before returning to play in the Waterloo exhibition basketball tournament on Jan. 2.