Mustangs women's basketball
made in the Chehade
By Ryan Hickman
GERVIN, SERVED ON ICE. Mustang Joanne Chehade tickles the twine with
this finger roll in the Mustangs 71-66 victory over Waterloo last
If you think women's
basketball is dainty and meek, you haven't seen Joanne Chehade play.
Western's fourth-year forward has banged, spun and fought her way to being
one of the best players in Ontario women's basketball.
Heading into this past weekend, Chehade was fourth in the province and
12th in the country in scoring, with 16.3 points per contest.
Chehade, a London Regina Mundi College graduate, is a complementary combination
of size and quickness who can go out around the arc to cover a small forward
and bang underneath with the power forwards and centres. It's Chehade's
feistiness that makes her a force.
"You have to intimidate and always play tough," Chehade says,
concerning her rough and tumble style of play on both sides of the ball.
"If you're physical with them, they will think twice before trying
a move again."
Chehade is the kind of player who would elbow you in the chest in a pick-up
game at a family picnic just to get position in the post. It's down on
the block where Chehade does most of her damage, and where Western head
coach Bob Delaney says she's most comfortable.
"Her strength is with her back to the basket," Delaney said.
"When the ball is in her hands, that's when Joanne goes to work."
"I've always been quick," Chehade said, adding she tests her
leaping ability every night at practice by trying to dunk the ball, but
she can only muster up enough hops to touch rim.
Delaney attests to the physical fleetness of Chehade, and the advantage
it gives her with players larger than her.
"She is such a good leaper that she can play with the six footers,
and she's got tremendous moves," he said.
Chehade's toughness, physical skill and the intangible of watching the
NBA since she was young, are some of the reasons why she has been droppin'
it like it's hot on the rest of the OUA. However, Delaney explained that
Chehade needs to get into a game early to be truly effective.
"If Joanne hits early, it's contagious," Delaney said. "It
goes through the team and the other kids feed off her and get confidence.
When she's on her game, there are very few kids in the league this year
that can excel at the level that she excels."
Chehade's confidence shows most when asked about having the ball in her
hands during a tight game, when there are a precious few ticks left on
"I definitely want the ball," Chehade replied. "I want
my team to rely on me in that situation."
Delaney clearly believes in Chehade. He detailed the events of a game
last year when he drew up a play specifically for Chehade and she went
on to hit the shot and send the game into overtime, where the Mustangs
eventually won by five points.
"If we are in a situation late in the game and we need a basket,
she's certainly one of the two or three people that we would like to think
of as being pretty reliable to make a basket," Delaney said.
When Chehade is not on the hardwood banging and scoring, she has her nose
in the books. The fourth-year kinesiology student has always wanted to
be a doctor and has already completed the MCAT.
She's looking to come back to Western in the physiology masters program
so she can play another year for the Mustangs, before she trades in her
high-tops for a stethoscope.