Second half skid sinks Western

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western women's basketball

Jon Purdy

WE’D TELL YOU NOT TO SWEAT IT, BUT WE’RE MUCH TOO LATE. The women’s basketball team just couldn’t keep up to the nationally ranked McMaster Marauders in the second half of this week’s game, falling 78-54 at Alumni Hall.

In a game that was the tale of two halves, Lindsay Degroot and Taylor Smith’s combined 46 points helped lead the McMaster Marauders to a 78-54 win over the Western Mustangs on the opening day of the women’s hoopsters’ regular season.

While the ’Stangs kept pace with the nationally ranked Marauders during the first half, McMaster dominated the second half of play, leading to the lopsided victory for the visitors.

“The third quarter has been a focus of ours because at the beginning of the year we never came out strong after halftime,” McMaster head coach Theresa Burns said.

“We also had very little play out of our posts in the first half. We weren’t looking to get them the ball and they weren’t posting up hard. We needed to get the ball in the paint, whether it meant passing it in or driving the ball.”

After keeping pace with McMaster in the first quarter, the ’Stangs fell behind by nine points after a 9-0 Marauder run put them up 22-13 early in the second stanza.

Paced by strong play on the glass by forwards Bess Lennox and Lauren Parkes, Western matched McMaster’s runs, finding itself down 28-26 at halftime.

With McMaster’s full-court pressure and fast-break offence, Western found itself down 39-27 five minutes into the second half. In total, the ’Stangs shot 25 per cent from the floor in the second half, while McMaster shot 55.6 per cent from the field.

“In the first half today we responded ... we had an answer [to their runs] in the first half,” Western head coach Stephan Barrie said.

“In the second half in that third quarter we weren’t able to respond. We lost our focus, a bit of our energy, and [McMaster] " like good teams do " pounced on it and sort of took control in the third quarter.”

While McMaster halted the Western offence with its full court pressure, Barrie said the team did show the ability to thwart it for short periods of time.

“There were certainly points when their press was affecting us, however, [after timeouts] when we refocused on running the ball and being more aggressive, and made that a priority, in the minutes that followed we noticed we didn’t have trouble with their ball pressure,” he said.

“It’s a matter of fine details, as it always is, and when you get away from fine details the game gets much harder than it needs to be.”

The Marauders continued their second half onslaught in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 28-15 in the frame to put away the game.

With the entire roster returning from last season and talented new recruits, Barrie elected to make substitutions throughout the game; something he says the team will continue to do throughout the year.

“We’re going to have to do this. It’s a situation where we won’t have a chance to compete with McMaster if we play six players because they have the depth and then we basically have the situation we had last year where we played six players all game against them.”

Western returns to the hardwood on Saturday, when it hosts the Guelph Gryphons in a home game at Alumni Hall. The Gryphons eliminated Western in the OUA semi-finals last season. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.

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