Mustangs topple Golden
By Amanda Robinson
THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE! The Mustangs’ Cheryl
Atkinson helps rack up the points against Laurier Saturday
to record a 60-48 victory.
It was all about Atkinson and McColl in the Western Mustangs' women's
basketball team's 60-48 victory over the second place Laurier Golden
Hawks Saturday afternoon.
The Mustangs were carried to victory by the strong inside presence
of Cheryl Atkinson and Rebecca McColl, who clearly outplayed the
Laurier defense. The forwards had help from guards Julie Lamparski,
Alana Juzenas and Karenina Aguilar, who also contributed to the
Mustang win with their defensive intensity.
Western started off slow in the beginning, but picked up the pace
late in the first half. Their strong defensive pressure on the ball
flustered the Golden Hawks' offense by forcing turnovers and rushed
shots. This in turn created fast break opportunities which the Mustangs
capitalized on, giving them easy points in the paint. The Mustangs
finished the first half with a solid three point lead.
The Golden Hawks didn't give up, however, as they came out strong
in the second half -but the Mustang defense, combined with Atkinson
and McColl, were too hot for the Hawks to handle. In the last five
minutes, Lamparski forced a few turnovers and had some fast break
opportunities- the Mustangs pulled away and soared to victory.
Part of the their victory can be attributed to forcing the Hawks
into poor shot selection. Western also out-rebounded their opponents
and took advantage of fast break opportunities. Unfortunately for
the Golden Hawks, there was no answer to the offensive threat the
Mustang forwards' posed.
In attempts to shut down the Mustangs overpowering forwards, Laurier
coach Stu Julius instructed his players to "front the posts."
Unfortunately, this strategy was ineffective as Atkinson and McColl
proved unstoppable inside.
Mustangs' coach Mike Milne believed the key to their success was
getting the ball inside and making the Hawks play defense in the
interior. "It was also the contribution of our defensive intensity,
[which] transferred into our offensive game," he added.
Not only did the Mustangs outplay the Golden Hawks with their outstanding
hustle and teamwork, but their strategy to shut down top scorer
Meaghan McGrath aided in their victory. Their swarming defense prevented
McGrath from heating up her three-point shot.
"We tried to limit her three-point opportunities as well as
contest any shots that she put up," Milne said.
However, despite McGrath's performance, Julius believed the loss
wasn't a result of McGrath being shutdown, but instead it was the
Mustangs' work ethic and intensity that resulted in the Hawks defeat.
"Western outworked us and hit their shots -we shot the ball
poorly," Julius said. "It was a team loss. Meaghan has
had other games like this and we've had other players step up."
He added that success at the foul line was also a main factor in
the Mustangs' victory. "Their free throws were good even though
they are statistically one of the worst free throw shooting teams
in the league," Julius said.
Alana Juzenas, who shot the ball well and had an excellent defensive
game, attributed the win to team defense. "Laurier is one of
the best offensive teams in the league, averaging 70 points per
night, while we are the best defensive team," she said. "We
knew if we could hold them under 60 points, which we did, then we
would be alright."