Anderson leads with 22 points in win over Mac

Team rebounds from slow start for first playoff win since '03

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs women's basketball

Shaun Ding

BRING ON WINDSOR. Bess Lennox battles a Marauder player in the OUA West semi-final game on Saturday at Alumni Hall. The team earned a berth in the division final with a 69-61 victory.

The playoff curse that has dragged down the women’s basketball team in the past has officially been shaken off.

“It feels great [to win]. Everyone knows the story of how we choke in the playoffs,” Mustangs forward Nadine Paron said.

Western delighted the home crowd with a 69-61 win over a young and depleted McMaster Marauders squad in the Ontario University Athletics West division semi-final on Saturday afternoon.

“To be honest, I never thought we were going to lose this game,” Mustangs head coach Stephen Barrie said. “This to me is what I expected, it’s what we should do.”

Despite this being the first playoff win for the team in nearly six years, Barrie made sure the women knew they wouldn’t bear the weight of the past on their shoulders.

“I made sure that our group knew they were going to create their own identity and they aren’t the saviors of this program … they are this one team and they have to push and see how far they can go,” he said.

The Marauders came out of the gate stronger than usual as they relied on solid perimetre shooting and aggressive play down low to give them a four point lead by the end of the half.

“Yeah, they were kicking out the ball and hitting some threes ... [Amanda D’Ortenzio] was hitting a bunch. It is sort of not what she normally does, [but] we just had to adjust and contest her shots,” Paron said.

Mac’s offensive surge came as a bit of a surprise to Barrie.

“Well, they’ve always played tough defence, but I thought they did a much better job on offence. They were scoring much more than they usually do,” he said.

Despite Mac grabbing its first half-time lead over the Mustangs all season, Barrie kept his team grounded by relying on what brought them to the playoffs.

“We’re going to do what we always do ... we’re a very routine team and you don’t break it at this point [since] it’s gotten you success all year,” Barrie said.

Mustangs women's basketball

Led by some clutch free throw shooting from Bess Lennox " seven for seven " and Amanda Anderson " seven for eight " the ’Stangs quickly regained the lead.

“Defensively we had to stop their penetration,” McMaster head coach Anne Marie Thuss said. “We kept putting them on the line and that was the difference.”

A strong perimetre presence from Paron gave the Mustangs some breathing room early in the second half as she drained a pair of three pointers within a minute.

The Marauders took the first-round playoff loss in stride.

“We were very pleased with the season that we had,” Thuss said. “We lost six players from last year, including Lindsay DeGroot, probably the best player in Canada. But I’m very pleased with the progress they made.”

As for the Mustangs, they are already looking ahead to tomorrow’s OUA West final against the top ranked Windsor Lancers " a team that has beaten the Mustangs both times they’ve faced each other this year.

“We have a little bit of payback that we have to get and right now, I feel good about the way the kids are battling, so I really like our chances,” Barrie said.

As far as the approach the players are taking toward the game, it all comes down to basics, according to Paron.

“You know, we’ll have two good practices, scout them, look at the tape, play hard in practice and get them on Wednesday,” she said.

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