Quest for West begins
Mustangs give it away
Pezzolo controls the post
Losing streak gets put on ice
Pezzolo controls the post
By Ian Ross
Grabbing rebounds, opening up lanes under the basket and playing hard-nosed defence these are the skills Nadia Pezzolo, co-captain of the Western women's basketball team, brings to the hard court every day.
On Saturday night, Pezzolo added a scoring touch to her repertoire, leading the Mustangs to a 70-51 victory over the previously undefeated Guelph Gryphons in Alumni Hall.
Standing at five foot eleven, Pezzolo dominated her opponents at the post position pouring in a season high 26 points from under the basket in addition to her eight rebounds.
"Scoring wise, I finally hit the jackpot for once this year," Pezzolo said.
"It was good for my confidence after struggling on Wednesday night at Brock."
The offensive performance displayed another dimension of the Grimsby native's game, who is regarded as one of the top defensive athletes in the Ontario West division. Last season, Pezzolo ranked fourth in the province in rebounds with an average of 7.3 per game. Pezzolo was later recognized for her efforts with a second team Ontario West all-star selection.
Western head coach Bob Delaney was tongue-tied by Pezzolo's scoring punch.
"She was on fire," he said bluntly. "Eight for 10 from the field in the first half and she still spent six minutes on the bench because she got in foul trouble."
Missing their top post player Julia Donohue, the Gryphons struggled from the opening tip-off to handle Pezzolo and the rest of the Mustangs' physical play in the high post. Guelph head coach Angela Orton pointed to Western's control of the post as the difference in the Ontario West first place battle.
"I was very disappointed on how our big players played," Orton said. "Nadia played a tough game. I've always had a lot of respect for her. She established at the beginning of the game that she was going to control the offensive boards and never stopped."
Guelph countered with their own Ontario West second-team all-star Pat Marcello, a fourth-year guard. Pezzolo commented that Western's game plan included rattling Marcello on defence. The strategy worked Marcello was three for 17 from the field and scored only 14 points while causing six turnovers.
Western's leading scorer, forward Jenn Haylor, struggled early in the contest before rebounding to score 15 points. Shooting guard Tricia Young added nine points.
The Mustangs' victory moved the team back into first place, tied with the Gryphons in the Ontario West division.
Delaney said he felt the outcome of the game was an example of the true nature of his team. "I don't think anyone is going to touch us when we play the way we are capable of playing."
The Mustangs will head to Windsor on Wednesday to take on the Lancers at 6 p.m..