by Marauders on home floor
Despite their recent slide, the Western Mustangs men's basketball
team is staying positive and confident.
The Mustangs have lost four straight games, the most recent coming
Wednesday night at Alumni Hall, a 94-85 loss to the McMaster Marauders.
The loss dropped the Mustangs record to 4-5, leaving them in fifth
place in the OUA West Division.
Western kept it close in the early going of the first half, but McMaster
caught fire down the stretch, hitting three-pointers on four consecutive
trips down the floor and held a 57-41 lead at half time.
The Mustangs trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half, but
slowly cut into the lead. With 1:42 remaining in the game, they trailed
89-84, but foul trouble and untimely turnovers put the game out of
Jimmy Grozelle led all scorers with 31 points, while Sagar Desai and
Jeff Giovanatti each added 13 for the Mustangs.
Graham Hewitt and Ben Katz led McMaster with 23 points each.
Defensive miscues allowed the Marauders to build a lead, which turned
out to be too large for the Mustangs to overcome.
"We had a defensive let-down in the first half," Grozelle
said. "Every game we seem to go to sleep for five minutes."
"Our [defense] was better in the second half, but when a team
shoots 90 per cent from [three-point range], it makes it difficult,"
added Mustangs head coach Craig Boydell.
McMaster head coach Joe Raso said he was pleased with his team's performance
and hopes to see more of the same from his team, which sits in first
place in the OUA West division at 8-1.
"We've been consistent, and we're able to mix it up. Our expectations
haven't changed; we want to win the pennant and get home court for
the playoffs," he said.
Even with four straight losses, neither the Mustangs players or coaches
are getting worried.
"We're staying positive, we believe in each other and we know
we can be effective when we play a full 40 minutes," Grozelle
"We need to get healthy," Boydell added, as a factor for
the recent slide. "We have guys playing hurt, and we've had a
tough schedule. With an easier schedule, we can persevere."
Even though the losing streak isn't of great concern for the team,
winning big games against strong teams would definitely help their
confidence down the stretch. The ideal time to break the losing streak
would be Friday night at home against Carleton University the
number one team in the country. The Mustangs then face another quality
team in the Ottawa Gee Gee's on Saturday.
"They're great teams, but if we give a 100 per cent effort and
get the bounces going our way, we could string some wins together,"
The holiday hiatus took its toll on the Mustangs women's basketball
team Wednesday night at Alumni Hall.
In a match-up against old rivals the McMaster Marauders, it seemed
the Mustangs couldn't get back into the swing of things. The Marauders
took the game by a score of 59-51.
The loss dropped the Mustangs' regular season record to 6-5, leaving
them in fourth place in the Ontario University Athletics West division.
The Mustangs led the game for most of the first half, however, anxiousness
appeared to get the better of the team. Due to the large amount of
McMaster turnovers, the Mustangs had several solid scoring chances.
Unfortunately, they couldn't convert due to sloppy passes and poor
accuracy. The Mustangs shot 37 per cent from the field and 20 per
cent from beyond the arc. Veteran player Joanne Chehade was a bright
spot, dropping an impressive 16 points for the Mustangs.
Mustangs head coach Bob Delaney said that the loss wasn't due to a
lack of effort.
"We had some mental breakdown at key times in the game. Our team
chemistry is OK psychologically, but from a basketball standpoint,
it's off we need to rectify that quickly," he said.
First game jitters were evident from both teams, clearly a result
of the aforementioned Christmas holiday break. Turnovers, long passes
and missed shots were abundant on both sides and both teams looked
out of sync. Although the Western ballers appeared to relax and slow
things down in the second half of the game, the play was controlled
by the Marauders.
McMaster head coach Theresa Burns said she was pleased with her team's
"We had a few scary moments, but we called time-outs to make
some adjustments and the girls corrected their mistakes quickly. I
thought [we] executed fairly well," she said.
The loss was especially upsetting to Mustangs players Rebecca McColl
and Julie Lamparski, both Hamilton natives.
"I was really disappointed by the loss there is a lot
of rivalry between us and the girls from Mac because we play together
during the summer," Lamparski said. "We did this to ourselves.
Between Dec. 4 and Jan. 3 we were off from practice and although we
are supposed to maintain our fitness, several members of the team
didn't have access to gyms at home."
The Mustangs will have a chance to turn things around this weekend.
They play the Carleton Ravens on Friday night and the Ottawa Gee Gee's
Saturday night at Alumni Hall.
Coach Delaney said he is looking forward to the weekend's match- ups.
"What the team needs is game experience rather than practice
experience. This weekend will give us an opportunity to get back at
it and play some games."