Volume 92, Issue 48
Friday, November 27, 1998
Rivalry opens home schedule
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
By Ian Ross
Lakehead University and Western may have the longest rivalry in women's basketball history not in the sense of time and history but rather distance.
The Lady Nor'Westers fly into town today at 2 p.m. to open up the Mustang basketball team's home schedule with a two game series.
Although distance has prevented the teams from facing each other more than once each season, a number of factors have kept the competition intense year after year.
The most obvious reason is the level of competition both teams have put on the floor over the past couple of years. Dominating the Ontario West division, Western has finished just ahead of the Lady Nor'Westers in the final standings for three straight years. Last season at Lakehead, the two teams split the series one apiece.
According to Western head coach Bob Delaney, the reason for the highly talented players has been the direct result of the aggressive recruiting policies from both schools. "[Lakehead head coach Stu Julius] and I have been the only coaches that did heavy recruiting and it's paid off," Delaney said. He added both coaches have often battled for the same players.
Julius agreed with his long time peer that strong competition has helped fuel the rivalry.
"I think it started with the coaches," Julius said. "Bob and I have known each other for years."
Julius noted another reason for Lakehead's intensity is the image of the David and Goliath battle when comparing the size of the two schools. Western has close to 21,000 full-time students compared to Lakehead's 5,500.
The rivalry will continue this weekend and Western guard Tricia Young said her team's objective will be to continue gelling as a unit and sweep the series to improve to 3-0 on the season.
"I think this weekend is really important since we didn't play as well as we should have in Waterloo last weekend," she said.
Delaney said the team spent a week working on more of a freelance offensive attack instead of a set game plan. "We need to do something to shake things up."
Delaney said his team will also take advantage of Lakehead's small roster of seven players with a fast up-tempo game in hopes of wearing the Lady Nor'Westers down. Planning a counter-attack in order to stop Western, Julius has prepared a strategy which he hopes will shut down the Mustang attack.
"I think we need to take care of [guard Jenn] Haylor and [guard Sonya] Doherty," Julius said. "They are the keys for Western."
Tip-off for both games will be at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in Alumni Hall.
Photo by Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
To Contact The Sports Department: email@example.com
Copyright © The Gazette 1998