Physical game ends in victory for the 'Stangs

Lennox: Man-to-man defence key to success for rest of the season

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs women's basketball

Kelly Macquarrie

MAN, IMAGINE HOW MUCH PLAYING TIME I WOULD BE GETTING IF I PLAYED FOR GUELPH. The women’s basketball team downed the Guelph Gryphons 73-60 this past Saturday, keeping them two points ahead of the McMaster Marauders for second place overall in the OUA West division.

With the playoffs approaching for Ontario University Athletics women’s basketball teams, games from here on out are going to get increasingly physical, as expressed by Western head coach Stephan Barrie after his team’s victory over the Guelph Gryphons, Saturday afternoon.

“Teams are playing for playoff spots and fighting for position in the standings so games are going to get physical,” Barrie said. “It’s a matter of trying to figure out how the refs are calling it and adjusting. If it’s physical, that’s fine; if it is called tight then it’s fine. We can play a variety of styles.”

The team’s versatility paid off as the Mustangs edged out the Gryphons 73-60 at Alumni Hall.

The tension began to rise in the first quarter. It was a back and forth battle with several ties and lead changes. Both teams refused to let their opponents build momentum. At the end of the quarter, Guelph forward Rachel Hancock hit a free-throw to give her team a 17-16 lead.

“I thought we were very steady on both ends of the floor and played one possession at a time,” Guelph head coach Angela Orton said. “Our defence was good. Offensively, we executed well, remained poised and moved the ball well.”

This strong play was showcased for most of the second quarter. Western momentarily faltered and Guelph continued to play consistent basketball and quietly built a 12-point lead on a 14-3 run.

Towards the end of the quarter the ’Stangs were noticeably frustrated with their missed shots and by a few physical plays that received no calls from the referees.

Mustangs women's basketball

The frustration quickly turned into fire as Western scored 13 unanswered points, led by forward Nadine Paron and a ferocious full court press. Paron had two consecutive steals, which she converted into baskets at the offensive end. The run catapulted Western into a 32-31 halftime lead.

“Our guards did a really great job pressuring their ball handlers and making them uncomfortable in their own end,” Paron said. “It was a great team effort from everyone on the press.”

The third quarter was very physical and as a result both teams struggled to make baskets.

The Mustangs adjusted effectively for the fourth quarter when they utilized their very aggressive full-court pressure defence. Their intensity could not be matched and their trap could not be broken by Guelph.

Western continuously forced Guelph to dribble into their trap causing their opponents to make long difficult passes, which ended with the ball thrown out of bounds or picked off.

The press resulted in an 11-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter, which ultimately decided the game.

“It really comes down to defence,” forward Bess Lennox said. “We went back to our man-to-man defence and put on our press. I think that’s what it is going to come down to for the rest of our season.”

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