Western clinches CIAU spot
Western consoled at CIAUs
NHL trade deadline to have little excitement or big deals
Western consoled at CIAUs
By Michelle Crespi
The Western women's basketball team may not have brought back the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union championship, but they didn't return empty handed.
The Mustangs arrived Sunday, armed with some hardware, a fifth place finish and most importantly, some experience. Entering the CIAUs seeded seventh, Western lost their first game against the number two ranked Regina Cougars 80-61. After the loss, Western moved to the consolation side of the tournament, setting their sights on capturing the consolation final and a fifth place finish. But first, the Mustangs had to face some stiff competition.
In the consolation semifinals, Western took on the Laval Rouge et Or who lost their first round match to Calgary. The Mustangs started strong and went into halftime up 35-30. But it was in the second half that Western truly dominated. "We minimized our turnovers and played as a unit," said guard Laura Verbeeten, who led the Mustangs in scoring with 19 points.
Western's strong defence resulted in 24 turnovers leading to almost half of their points. The Mustangs were also strong on the boards, out-rebounding Laval by 10.
A turning point in the game was the injury of Laval's star player, Isabelle Grenier. "We couldn't play after [Grenier's] injury," said Laval coach Linda Marquis. "We played as individuals. We gave Western too many second chances and they played a great game."
Laval guard Marie-Helene Lafleche said she did not feel Grenier's injury was the biggest setback. "Discipline was the main problem," she said. "At this level we have to execute what the coach says and we didn't do that."
After Western's commanding 74-57 victory, they advanced to face their OUA rivals, the Laurentian Lady Vees. In order to produce a win, Western had to shut down Laurentian's veteran star player, all-Canadian Stephanie Harrison.
After a tough first half Western was down 34-28. The score remained close throughout the match, but in the end Laurentian lost their edge.
"We didn't want the game," said Laurentian's head coach John Campbell. "We have a lot of veterans who came here to win the national championship and after losing the first game, we were disappointed."
The stats for the game matched up for both teams, but in the end, the difference was Western's desire to win. "We executed our offence and defence well," explained Cindy Scott, co-captain and leading scorer with 19 points. "We're really happy with our play."
She said forward Holli Clarkson had a doubleĞdouble with 10 points and 14 rebounds and Lindsay Kennedy contributed 11 points to Western's 65-62 win.
By capturing the consolation final, the Mustangs managed a solid fifth place finish. Scott was honoured with the R.W. Pugh Fairplay award, an honour given to the player who displays good sportsmanship throughout the national tournament.
"The experience will prove to be invaluable," said Western's head coach Bob Delaney. "This was a tremendous opportunity for them to see what the national tournament is all about and to see what it's going to take in the off-season to make the medal round next year."