Volume 93, Issue 31

Tuesday, October 26, 1999


SPORTS

Western comeback foiled by McMaster

Volleyball team spikes opponents

The sweet taste of athletic perfection

Men ready to slam dunk da funk

Women to improve on last year's finish

Mustangs feel the winter chill

Soccer team clinches first - barely

Mike Tyson - suffering from "Iron" deficiency

Women to improve on last year's finish



By Michael Murphy
Gazette Staff

The sound of squeaking sneakers and bouncing balls are resounding through Thames Hall these days, as the women's basketball team prepares for its upcoming season. This year's squad hopes their amalgam of maturity and youth will prove to be a winning combination.

The hoops platoon will try to improve on the performance of last year's team, which was forced out of post-season play by an overtime loss to McMaster University in the Ontario West division championship game.

With the way the league is shaping up this season, McMaster will likely be a major Mustang rival once again. Bob Main, head coach at Lakehead University, said he sees the Marauders as this year's team to beat. "For sure, Mac's going to be number one. Western will probably be number two and next should be Guelph and Waterloo who will be close."

Although several players from last year's Mustang team – including key forward and co-captain Jenn Haylor – have been lost to graduation, head coach Bob Delaney said he has confidence in his new roster.

"We have three starters back – [pointguard Cindy] Scott, [forward Tricia] Young and [forward Holli] Clarkson. We've also got a very good transfer from [the University of Toronto], Laura Verbeeten, who will be eligible to play Nov. 29.

"Once we get to Dec. 1, we'll be starting Verbeeten, Scott and Young at the guards. We'll be very experienced in the one, two and three spots. Plus, we have Holli Clarkson, who should be our go-to person up front and we also have good size at the five spot," Delaney said.

Scott, veteran point guard for the Mustangs, shared her coach's faith in the new lineup. "All the returning players have worked really hard over the summer to improve. We're also all really impressed with the rookies. They're fitting in well," she said.

With six new players joining the Mustangs fresh out of high school, integrating rookies into the team concept is currently a top priority. "We know we have a lot of potential and we're good, but it's going to take us awhile to put it all together," Scott added.

Delaney said he anticipates the Mustangs will play an up-tempo game and have more of an inside presence than in past years. "We'll be pressing a lot. Our style is to press and run. Because we have more size now we should also have a good inside game. We've been known as a quick, perimeter team, but we should also be able to play inside this year," he said.

Clarkson, Western's premier front court player, also expects a fast-paced style of play. "We're an athletic team so there should be a lot of running and fast breaking," she said.

Last week, Western suffered a 42 point pre-season loss to McMaster. The point spread is not nearly as discouraging as it sounds, considering the Mustangs are working many new players into the lineup.

"This team is capable of going to the [Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union] championships," Delaney said. "We're gonna have an outstanding set of starters by Dec. 1 and hopefully, by then, the rookies will be able to come off the bench and contribute for us."

Western's regular season begins on Nov. 10, when they'll be walking into the lion's den for a rematch at McMaster. The outcome of this match will be a good indication of whether all the squeaking and dribbling at Thames Hall has paid off.


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999