Volume 93, Issue 72

Tuesday, February 8, 2000


Inspiration leads Mustangs

An impressive victory

Streak remains after close match

Close but no cigar for Western

An impressive victory

By Phil Piggott
Gazette Writer

The Western women's basketball team was on fire Saturday night and added yet another win to their already extensive collection.

The Mustangs completely dominated their affair against the Laurier Golden Hawks clinching the game 77-52 and improving their conference record to 15-2.

Western conducted a clinic of offensive skills throughout the first half, with a diverse attack, including several shots from the perimeter and successfully driving the lane.

This was complemented by strong defensive pressure and speed, earning the team the luxury of a 45-19 lead at the half.

The second half was different, much to Laurier's delight, as they outscored Western 33-32 and executed their scoring opportunities with much greater success.

Western's top scorer, guard Laura Verbeeten, led the Mustangs with an impressive 26 points. Verbeeten emphasized the importance of staying in the game from start to finish.

"We lose our intensity when we get leads – we get lax a bit. We have to try to put it together for 40 minutes so when playoffs come, we can do it."

After the game, Laurier head coach Stu Julius was still optimistic about his team's play and said he knew before the game that Western was going to be a tough opponent. "We had no intensity in the first half. It's difficult for us to match up. Western is the best team in the conference."

Julius added the major difference between his team and Western's was experience. With the Mustangs out–rebounding Laurier 53-27, Julius thought his team could use some improvement. "[Western has] a lot of the spots covered.

We're fairly young and we'll continue to pay the price like that," he said.

Along with the 27 team fouls called on Laurier, Western also capitalized on each scoring opportunity, putting the Golden Hawks at the mercy of Western from the tip-off.

"We're a much more talented team," Verbeeten said. "We have great team chemistry. If we play well, we have a good chance to beat anybody."

Western head coach Bob Delaney said he was proud of the way his team stepped up play. "Our kids responded very well tonight. With eight first-year kids, it takes a long time to get into it. We try to set up every game so that it's going to be a challenge."

Delaney also said Western's full court press, which created 29 Laurier turnovers, had a huge impact on his team's success. "We force a lot of turnovers against everybody, we told them 'don't look at the scoreboard.' We were going to utilize our press," Delaney said.

Even with the team's relative youth, they have had continued success and retain a 10th place ranking in the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union standings.

With only four games left in conference play, Delaney said the team's achievements so far have been fantastic.

"I couldn't be more pleased than what's happened this year. We're looking forward to this month and the playoffs."

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