Volume 92, Issue 44
Friday, November 20, 1998
Depth gives Western edge
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
By Ian Ross
Few words could be more appropriate to describe the women's basketball program at Western than "depth."
The team will open their season in Waterloo on Saturday against the Warriors with expectations around the league of a repeat performance for a division title. These lofty expectations are strongly backed by the club's No. 4 national ranking.
The ranking is a great step forward for any team. For the Mustangs it is an exceptional feat, considering the team has endured a pre-season plagued with injuries and the adjustment of filling the void in two starting positions. Their secret good recruiting and a loaded bench of great basketball players.
"In this league, most teams have three or four quality players, but when you have to start putting rookies into situations the team can struggle," said head coach Bob Delaney. "So when you have eight solid players, it is a big plus."
Forward Nadia Pezzolo and shooting guard Jenn Haylor will return to the duties of co-captain for their fifth and final year of competition. Pezzolo noted the ability to bring in strong high school talent year after year has been the reason for the club's great depth.
"We had another good recruiting class this year. A lot of people showed up and it was hard to make cuts," she said.
One new face, years past her first season, is Sarah Collins, a transfer student from Wilfred Laurier University. A graduate student at Althouse College, Collins is returning to the court after a two year absence caused by injury.
"We certainly had the welcome mat out for her," Delaney said.
Collins will help fill the void left by Tanneke Blaauboer at the post position, while Cindy Scott will take on the full duties of point guard with the graduation of all-Canadian Angela Nobes.
Sonya Doherty will add a little scoring punch from the back court while Tricia Young, Adrianna Pompa and Holly Clarkson wait patiently for their name to be called off the bench.
"Bobby does a good job with the team," said Lakehead head coach Stu Julius. "When he loses quality kids, he has kids on the bench to fill in that would be already starting on other teams."
The team's 9-3 pre-season record, although poor in comparison to past years, was promising considering at one time or another injuries forced Young (knee), Collins (dislocated shoulder) and Pezzolo (abdominal pull) to watch games in their street clothes.
Now with a healthy unit to manipulate, Delaney is optimistic on the distance this team can go. "The goal every year is to get to the CIAU championships. That never changes with this program."
Delaney said the goal is simple to get to the Canadian gold medal championship, which is known as the TSN game and is the only game in the league covered by television.
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