Basketball drops to 1-2

(Photo by Rosalie Eid)

After going 6-1 during preseason, including defeating two previous Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) contenders, the Wilfrid Laurier women’s basketball team was ranked No. 9 nationally going into their home opening weekend.

But after the Toronto Varsity Blues defeated Laurier 58-54 Friday and the Ryerson Rams won an overtime match 72-69, the Hawks dropped to 1-2 on the regular season and were taken out of the CIS top ten.

“You got to give it up to Toronto,” said first-year Kaitlyn Schenck after Friday’s game. “They played an amazing game. They hustled, they worked and we got little things to work on that we can do in practice but we played hard and did all we could.”

The Hawks kept with the Varsity Blues for the majority of Friday’s game before allowing Toronto to widen the gap in the third quarter.

Despite a last-minute attempt to tie the score, the Hawks were unable to get past Toronto’s defence.

“Toronto’s a tough team,” said head coach Paul Falco Friday. “We saw them on tape and we knew they played hard for 40 minutes.”

Saturday’s game featured a quick start by Ryerson, but the Hawks were able to maintain their offence and tie it up by the end of 40 minutes. However, in extra time, Laurier would come three points shy of their second win of the season.

“Obviously we didn’t shoot well, that was a big factor,” Falco said. “Our defence was okay; we did better in the second half. I think the rebounding hurt us more in the first half, but overall our offensive game was not where it needs to be so we’ve got to get better at that.”

After losing the past two Rookie of the Year winners, Felicia Mazerolle and Shelby Kurt, Laurier found depth in some new faces.

True-rookie Schenck had 12 points against Toronto and 11 against Ryerson, while transfer Whitney Ellenor put up 13 points on Friday  and 13 on Saturday.

Doreen Bonsu also continued her performance from last weekend against the Queen’s Gaels with nine points and four rebounds Friday and five points and ten rebounds Saturday, as well as getting a key bucket late in the game to help force overtime.

Falco believes that despite the winless weekend, the Hawks will learn from their mistakes and focus on the rest of the season.

“I thought we had too many gaps in our game where we gave up an easy transition or we forced a couple shots when we didn’t need to, but it’s a learning process,” he said. “It’s early in the season, so if we can improve on those areas then it bodes well for the rest of the season.”

Schenck agreed, saying the team needs to focus and work on certain areas.

“[It’s] a new game, it’s a new day, we really got to focus on the little things, work on some things like shooting, communicating and we’ll be ready to go,” she said.

Laurier defeated the Queen’s Gaels 68-64 last weekend in the first game of the 2012-13 season. Bonsu recorded a double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds.

The Hawks will travel to Toronto and Sudbury this weekend to play York and Laurentian before returning home for their last two games before the winter break on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

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