Volume 92, Issue 66
Tuesday, January 26, 1999
Confidence carries Clarkson into basketball spotlight
© Geoff Robins/Gazette
By Ian Ross
A little confidence has taken Holli Clarkson a long way.
A year ago she found herself on the bench playing sparingly for the Western women's basketball team. On Saturday, the Fonthill native found herself right in the middle of the action during a 73-47 victory over the Waterloo Athenas in Thames Hall.
For Clarkson, a year has made quite a difference. Within a second of the inevitable question, which asked her to explain her different approach to the game, Clarkson had the answer. "A lot more confidence," she replied with a smile.
A third-year veteran with the Mustangs, Clarkson shined on defence during Saturday night's tilt, collecting nine rebounds and two steals, as well as netting nine points at the offensive end of the floor.
"Defence is the one thing that I always look to focus on," said the five-foot-11 forward, before quickly adding how her scoring touch has improved recently to complement her defensive game.
Head coach Bob Delaney agreed confidence has been the difference in Clarkson's improved play.
Against Waterloo her mental toughness was given the ultimate challenge when forward Nadia Pezzolo went down with an injury early in the first half. Given extra time and responsibility at the post position, Clarkson shined. Delaney was impressed by the performance and said a permanent spot for her in the starting line-up for the remainder of the season was a certainty.
Clarkson had previously been rotating with fourth-year veteran Adriana Pompa for first minute honours.
"Holly is now the kind of kid that just doesn't make mistakes," Delaney said.
Delaney wasn't the only person with high praise for Clarkson on the evening. Mustang shooting guard Tricia Young, who netted 24 points against the Anthenas, gave her teammate plenty of credit for making things happen under the basket at both ends of the court.
"Holly killed everyone on the inside," Young said. "I have so much respect for Holly. Sometimes she just doesn't get the credit she deserves."
Credit was something Waterloo head coach Tom O'Brien wasn't willing to hand out after watching his team fold like a deck of cards.
The Waterloo defence was simply not equipped to handle a multiple scoring attack, according to O'Brien. He said as soon as his players started concentrating on covering Western scoring leader Jenn Haylor, second-year guard Young started hitting three-pointers. His club was left in a no-win situation, he said.
"I hate making excuses and I am not going to now," O'Brien said. "I give them all the credit."
Waterloo's only other previous encounter with Western was a four-point loss in preseason action. This time around the Anthenas were less fortunate with Leslie Mitchell, the only Waterloo athlete to hit double digits in scoring, with 10 points.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999