Volume 96, Issue 58
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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Nation's capital denied by Mustangs

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

Niru Somayajula/Gazette
MOMMY, WHY CAN'T THEY JUST LEAVE ME ALONE? Mustangs forward Rebecca McColl attempts to escape the triple team of the Ottawa Gee Gee's on Saturday night.

As the 2003 portion of the women's basketball schedule kicks into high gear, the Western Mustangs appear to be heading in the right direction.

The Mustangs improved their record to 8-5 with a 72-41 trouncing of the Ottawa Gee Gee's Saturday night at Alumni Hall. The victory came on the heels of a 75-53 win over the Carleton Ravens on Friday night.

The wins propelled Western into sole possession of third place in the Ontario University Athletics West division. In addition, they have now won four of their last five games.

The Mustangs held a 40-22 lead at half-time, led by forward Cheryl Atkinson's 13 points and guard Sarah Lercara's 11. The onslaught continued in the second half, as the Mustangs increased their lead and were able to utilize their entire bench.

Forward Joanne Chehade, the OUA's fifth leading scorer, led the Mustangs with 16 points. Atkinson and Lercara finished with 15 points and 14 points respectively.

The Western defense was exceptional, holding Ottawa to a 26 per cent shooting percentage from the field. Jodi Whyte led all Ottawa scorers with eight points, while Moriah Trowell added six. Kristen Moyle, the OUA's 11th leading scorer, was held to just five points.

Western head coach Bob Delaney also attributed the win to his team's defense. "We had excellent team defense tonight. [Guard Julie Lamparski] had a specific assignment to play against Moriah and she was excellent. We also made good decisions offensively, which add up to a victory," Delaney said.

Atkinson said that, as the season wears on, it's important to get production from everyone.

"We pulled together tonight," she said. "We try to focus on getting everyone in the game and getting everyone involved. We stuck to our game plan and executed well."

Ottawa had won three straight games and were in second place in the OUA East division, which makes the win even more impressive and encouraging.

With just over a month left in the regular season, the team is looking ahead and preparing for the playoffs.

"We have high expectations," Atkinson said. "We're looking ahead and becoming a strong team. Hopefully we can get home-court advantage for the playoffs and go far."

Delaney said there is still room for his team to improve.

"We need to become more consistent. We need to get better at both ends of the floor and work hard in practice and get in good condition," he said.

The team heads to Kingston this weekend for what should be a tough game at Queen's University before returning home for a game with the Waterloo Warriors the following week.

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2002 THE GAZETTE