Mustangs edge out Brock in OT nail-biter

Lennox, Parkes dominate the stat sheet, glass

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs forward Bess Lennox’s New Year’s resolution must have been to own the offensive and defensive boards, because that’s exactly what she did in Saturday’s match against the Brock Badgers.

Lennox notched a double-double, scoring 12 points and snatching a tremendous 19 rebounds as the Purple and Silver won an 80-76 overtime thriller versus the Badgers.

Lennox, an Ottawa native, showed no signs of fatigue despite playing 40 minutes in the game. Even in overtime she looked like she had fresh legs, cleaning the glass on both ends of the court.

A slow start in the first quarter left the Mustangs trailing 17-4 halfway through and down 19-10 by the end of the frame.

The ’Stangs clawed their way back in the second quarter. Western guard Amanda Anderson hit a wide open three-pointer with 1:43 remaining before half to give Western its first lead of the game.

In the second half, the Mustangs tightened up their game by getting the ball down low and putting the Badgers in early foul trouble. Western made Brock pay for its fouls by going 22-for-30 from the line.

Western head coach Stephan Barrie knew his team was going to face a tough challenge after the break.

“It was a tough win, but we’ll take it right now,” he said.

Barrie said the first game back is always difficult, so he prepared his team the best he could with regular practices.

“Getting in a game has a totally different adrenaline level, so we just focused on certain things like getting the skill work in and doing some running,” Barrie said.

All of the practice certainly paid off; the Mustangs showed strong fundamentals, out-rebounding Brock 45-31. With 16 offensive boards, the Mustangs scored many second opportunity buckets.

Western appeared to play with more drive and determination and it showed in its superior offensive rebounding over the Badgers. The Badgers only had nine offensive rebounds.

Anderson said the hard work and practice over the break was the key to the team’s success.

“We just worked hard,” she said. “We got down and dirty and fought for the ball. We practised a lot over the break.”

Anderson scored 18 points on impressive six-for-nine shooting. She also did a great job of distributing the ball, recording nine assists. Her ability to spot an open teammate combined with Western’s shooting really hurt the Badgers.

Lauren Parkes led the Mustangs in scoring with 19 points, and she also chipped in seven rebounds. Hillary Woodside led the Badgers in scoring with 20 points despite coming off the bench and playing 22 minutes.

The Mustangs held on to their lead for the entire third quarter and most of the fourth until Brock’s Jenna Gonneay hit a jumper with 1:04 remaining to give the Badgers a 65-63 lead.

Lennox answered back by knocking down a close range jump shot to tie the game at 65.

On the next possession Brock scored again, leaving the home side trailing by two with only 22 seconds remaining in regulation time.

Western forced the game into overtime when Anderson hit a 15-foot jump shot with five seconds remaining. Brock had a chance to win on its last possession, but Western’s tight defence did not allow the Badgers to even get a shot off.

In overtime, both teams exchanged buckets, keeping the spectators at Alumni Hall on the edge of their seats. In the end, Western held on for the reward.

Brock nearly sent the game to a second overtime after Woodside hit a three to put the Badgers within two points.

The Badgers made a quick steal but missed the lay-up to tie the game. Western’s Sara Mallen grabbed the rebound and was fouled, sending her to the line where she calmly hit her two free throws to end the game.

The win improved the Mustangs’ record to an impressive 9-2, while the loss brought the Badgers record to 6-5. The Mustangs travel to Windsor on Jan. 9 to meet the .500 Windsor Lancers at 6 p.m.

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