Volume 93, Issue 68
Tuesday, February 1, 2000
Forward steps up play for win
I HATE THESE TRAFFIC JAMS. The western women's basketball team were able to sift throught the gridlock and beat the Guelph Gryphons 70-63 Saturday night.
By Jessica Leeder
Despite an offensive lapse and sloppy zone defence early in the game, Western's women's basketball team pulled off a 70-63 victory Saturday over the struggling Guelph Gryphons. The Mustang win extended their winning streak to five games.
With team captain and guard Cindy Scott benched due to an injury, the Mustangs looked more like young foals being weaned than a first place team.
Western took possession at the tip-off, but it was Guelph who struck first, gaining an early lead on the sleepy Mustangs. Scott's offensive presence was noticeably missed as Western struggled to retaliate against the Gryphon attack.
"We needed to settle down. With Cindy Scott out with an injury we were forced to start rookie [Michelle Crowley] in her position she didn't settle down fast enough," said Western head coach Bob Delaney.
Luckily for Western, fourth-year forward Holli Clarkson exerted her veteran presence and picked up her team midway through the first quarter. Without looking back, Clarkson rallied hard and scored a total of 18 points in the game while logging a solid 40 minutes of play.
"We knew we all had to work harder and together [with Scott on the bench] but it wasn't a huge concern," Clarkson said. "We just knew everyone had to step it up a little."
And step it up they did. First-year forward Joanne Chehade dominated offensively, matching Clarkson's effort with 18 points of her own. Starting guard Laura Verbeeten, a third-year transfer from the University of Toronto, had 17 points and hauled down a game high 11 rebounds.
Guelph head coach Angela Orton commented on the strong Mustang attack lead by Clarkson. "We definitely had some breakdowns. Holli Clarkson played a great game. We didn't adjust to [her] penetration [Anne] Van Leeuwen and Clarkson on the inside were unstoppable."
The final quarter of play was what made the difference, Orton said, in a game where the score was a little too close for her comfort.
Guelph rallied and came within two field goals of the lead, but unsuccessful drives to the net and weak cross court passes proved to be frustrating. "We broke down in the end," Orton said. "[The Mustangs] kept playing and made the shots they needed."
Delaney said he was pleased with the win, despite their sketchy play early on. "We played tough defence and made key free throws down the stretch that made the difference. We came out expecting a close game."
Looking ahead, the Mustangs travel to Brock University tomorrow and Delaney said he hoped they could keep their winning streak alive. "Having Scott back on Wednesday gives us confidence we're obviously guaranteed a spot in the top six, but for now, we're trying to do one game at a time."
The team's current record sits at 13-2. They are ranked first overall in the Ontario West division and 10th in Canada.
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