Volume 95, Issue 55

Thursday, January 10, 2002
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Happy New Year... except in Guelph

Western hopes spiked by Queen's

Was it "gold or bust?"

Happy New Year... except in Guelph

Gryphons struggle in 'whole new ball game'

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

What a difference a year makes.

The Guelph Gryphons women's basketball team was among the cream of the crop in Ontario University Athletics hoops last year, compiling a 20-1 regular season record and losing in the OUA West semifinal.

But on Jan. 5 at Alumni Hall, they were a shell of their former selves, falling to the Western Mustangs 68-59.

There is an obvious explanation for the Gryphons role reversal – Pat Marcello and Angela Hrkac. Marcello, the OUA West Most Valuable Player and second team All-Canadian last year, and Hrkac, an OUA West All-Star last year, both ended their storied careers at the conclusion of the 2000-2001 season.

Gryphons head coach Angela Orton said younger players must fill the void. "Our style of play is quite different and we have much less experience. But the opportunity now exists for players to step into bigger roles."

When asked if this season could be classified as a rebuilding project, Orton was succinct. "Yes, with an exclamation point. We have eight rookies and of our 14 players, only three have any university experience," he said.

Christine Bryant/Gazette
SOME TEAMS JUST AREN'T WORTH STANDING FOR. The Western women's basketball team stood tall in their 68-59 win over Guelph at Alumni Hall to remain unbeaten in regular season play.

The Gryphons were utterly dominated on the glass – as the Mustangs hauled down 47 rebounds, as opposed to the Gryphons' 31. Centre Lindsay Kennedy, forward Joanne Chehade and forward Sarah Lercara were pivotal in this rebounding role, pulling down 11, 11 and 10 boards respectively.

The Mustangs also did a sound job on the defensive end, limiting the Gryphons to a grotesque 29.7 per cent from the field. The Gryphons should thank their penchant for burying the long ball for keeping the game tight, as they knocked down eight three-pointers.

Following the theme of defencse, Mustang head coach Bob Delaney said stopping Canadian Interuniversity Sport leading scorer Leanne Rowthorn was paramount to Western's success.

"Our defence on her was terrific," Delaney said. "We pretty much negated her."

The Mustangs were paced on the scoresheet by Chehade's 22 points and Kennedy's 18. Kennedy, the Mustangs muscle down low, also sent four Gryphon shots back where they came from.

The Mustangs holiday season action didn't end with the Guelph game. The squad competed in the Badger Invitational Dec. 28-30 at Brock. Unfortunately, the results were quite contrary.

The Mustangs finished with a disappointing 1-2 record, defeating lowly Lakehead 70-45, while falling to McGill 57-54 and host Brock 71-65.

Kennedy said the lackluster performance in St. Catherines was due to a little too much holiday turkey. "It obviously showed the rust coming off of the break," she said. "The team was supposed to be running over the holidays and staying in shape. But unfortunately, some team members maybe weren't doing that."

Rookie forward Julie Lamparski scored 18 points to lead the way against Lakehead, while Chehade registered 18 in the Brock matchup and 12 against McGill.

One bright spot for the Mustangs was the selection of Chehade to the tournament's all-star team.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002