Volume 93, Issue 84
Thursday, March 9, 2000
Women's team to average OUA loss at CIAUs
©Gazette file photo
READY TO SHOOT THE LIGHTS OUT. The Western's women's basketball team travels to the national finals this weekend to take on the best the country has to offer.
By Jessica Leeder
The Western women's basketball team have high hopes heading into the weekend, as they travel to Alberta for the national championships.
The Mustangs go into the tournament seeded seventh and are ranked 10th in the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union national rankings. They finished off a near-perfect season last weekend by capturing the Ontario University Athletics West title with a strong victory over McMaster University. However, the emotional win proved too much to handle, as the team lost in the OUA championship final to the Laurentian Lady Vees, 68-44.
The loss against Laurentian was only the Mustangs' second of the season and unfortunately, the old cliché "every cloud has a silver lining" proved true.
The team still qualified for the nationals and has now avoided a difficult first round against the fifth-seeded Alberta Pandas. Instead, they will face Regina a matchup which made fourth-seeded Laurentian a little envious. "Western and Regina are pretty fairly matched up," said Laurentian head coach John Campbell. "It will be a very exciting game Western is going to be a very tough team to beat."
Western head coach Bob Delaney echoed Campbell's sentiments and expressed both relief and excitement. "I'm ecstatic about the matchup," he said. "Our fear was that we would draw a first round match against the defending champions and have to play on their court with all their exuberant fans cheering them on."
Western forward and co-captain Holly Clarkson said both she and the team were initially upset by the loss to Laurentian, but the defeat made them realize they weren't invincible.
"Nobody was shooting well and nothing was falling for us against Laurentian. It was just a bad night," Clarkson said, reflecting on last Saturday's loss. "Looking ahead, we're happy with the [CIAU] draw, we don't know much about [the University of Regina], only that they've been ranked all year. So we still have our work cut out for us."
Clarkson added this weekend's tournament was up for grabs, as the talent pool was strong. "Regina is beatable, so is [the University of Calgary] and [the University of Alberta]."
The Mustangs finished the season with a strong 19-2 record and will be looking to cap it off with a strong showing at the nationals. Laurentian heads West with OUA East Most Valuable Player Stephanie Harrison and a 19-1 record.
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