Basketball – The Cord https://thecord.ca The tie that binds Wilfrid Laurier University since 1926 Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:23:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://thecord.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/logofavicon-32x32.png Basketball – The Cord https://thecord.ca 32 32 42727683 Joseph Fo receives Peter C. Ansley scholarship award https://thecord.ca/joseph-fo-receives-peter-c-ansley-scholarship-award/ https://thecord.ca/joseph-fo-receives-peter-c-ansley-scholarship-award/#respond Sun, 15 Jul 2018 17:46:21 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=50632

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Earlier in June, Wilfrid Laurier University held its Laurier Society celebration which is an event hosted by Development and Alumni Relations. The event is in place to honour and recognize the school’s most generous donors.

Having recognized Peter Ansley, an alumnus, with the 2018 Laurier Philanthropy Award, there was the award in his name, the Peter C. Ansley Basketball Award in support of the athletes on the varsity men’s basketball team. In its fourth year of existence, the 2018 scholarship award was presented to Joseph Fo, third-year men’s basketball guard.

A veteran player on coach Serresse’s up and coming Golden Hawks squad, Fo not only has proven to be one of the harder workers on the floor but also in the classroom, a testament to his effort considering how much it takes for student athletes to be great students as well.

“Coming into this past school year, I was working towards a scholarship. It was a generous gift that [Peter Ansley] provided. It motivated me throughout the year to push through fatigue and distraction. There were times when I’d be really tired but I would still make my way to the library to study a few hours longer and to get assignments done earlier before I go on road trips and such. So, this gift was a real honour and it was very motivating for me,” Fo said.

Besides winning the award which comes with praise, Coach Serresse has also lauded him, mentioning that Fo will be one of the captains of the team for the 2018 season.

Most people mistake what it is to be a captain of a team. A captain in essence is a leader and someone who those around them listen to and respect. It’s the person everyone looks at as an example.

“What coach Serresse was talking about, being a leader, it’s setting an example for my teammates that they too can be successful on the court and in the classroom. So, a lot of my teammates, we go to the library and study together,” Fo said.

“The leadership aspect of that is forming good habits with the young guys and the guys who just aren’t used to doing that. So, being a captain next year, I’ll further my leadership role and bringing young guys along and show them successful habits.”

With the rise of the basketball program, many have had rising expectations of what the team will do for next year but Fo has his sights set on other things as well.

When asked if he’ll be striving for this again, he had this to say:

“Yes definitely. Not so much win the award itself but achieving academic success. I feel as though I’ve got to a point where I’m capable of being a good student as well as a good athlete and I don’t want to fall off. I want to maintain or even do better than I’ve been doing in the past and obviously work towards a scholarship again.”

With all eyes on the court for the Golden Hawks in 2018, we can’t forget that these student-athletes have more to achieve than what only comes with the round orange ball. They are students with the same if not higher expectations to do well and humans like us to strive to accomplish more than one thing.

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Men’s basketball team recruits five new Golden Hawks https://thecord.ca/mens-basketball-team-recruits-five-new-golden-hawks/ https://thecord.ca/mens-basketball-team-recruits-five-new-golden-hawks/#respond Wed, 04 Jul 2018 11:00:35 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=50439

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s basketball team have added five new recruits for the 2018-19 season.

Head coach Justin Serresse will work with two new guards and three new forwards going into his third year with the Hawks.

“We wanted to have one player at each position and we somewhat did it. I’m happy with that because knowing that we’re going to lose a few guys in a couple of years, I wanted to make sure we have depth at every position. We’re going to lose nine guys over the next two years so we need to have a complete roster right now,” coach Serresse said.

At guard, Jackson Mayers and Branko Damjanovic will compete for starting spots with the surplus of talent that the Hawks already have in the back court. Mayers is transferring from the University of Ottawa after missing all of last season with an injury.

The London, Ont. native is an important addition to the Hawks due to his size, speed and all-around solid play.

Kitchener native Branko Damjanovic will provide instant offense for Laurier. Damjanovic finished as a top 15 scorer in the National Preparatory Association last year.

It’s going to be an intriguing 2018-19 season for the Golden Hawks and with the added amount of talent available at coach Serresse’s disposal, you can once again expect a season of exciting basketball at Laurier.

In the front court, the three new student-athletes include Zach Douglas from London, Ont., Majok Deng out of Surrey, B.C. and Kitchener’s own Milan Roknic.

Deng, who stands at 6’8, will provide much needed length and rim protection for the Hawks, while Roknic is a perimeter threat. Douglas only started his basketball career two years ago. However, Douglas impressed the Hawks with his athleticism and he will be a long term project for coach Serresse.   

The five rookies will be joining a team that has made the playoffs in consecutive years and coach Serresse expects them to contribute right away. “I look at the year as a whole. When we start in August, everyone has a chance to showcase their talent. That being said, all the recruits have to understand that everybody needs to get better,” he said.

“If you want to help [the team], you have got to bring it every day because that’s how you get better and that’s how you make the team better. If they don’t match everyone else’s intensity, then it’s not going to be good for us or them.”

“I’ve spoken to some of them and what I’ve told them is that the torch is going to be passed on to you and we hope that the torch is going to be lit on fire while you are carrying it. That’s the way the better programs are doing it. Guys come in, they learn, they train, they get minutes,” Serresse added.

“They go from role players to leaders and they help out the next generation. I’m hoping that’s what is going to happen.”

It’s going to be an intriguing 2018-19 season for the Golden Hawks and with the added amount of talent available at coach Serresse’s disposal, you can once again expect a season of exciting basketball at Laurier.

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Hawks aim to go all the way after series of close calls https://thecord.ca/hawks-aim-to-go-all-the-way-after-series-of-close-calls/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-aim-to-go-all-the-way-after-series-of-close-calls/#respond Wed, 04 Jul 2018 11:00:14 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=50437

Photo by Safina Husein

It has been an impressive last few years for the Laurier Men’s baseball squad. Led by coach Scott Ballantyne who has put together some impressive teams, they have made the OUA championship final three times in the last four years. They have also either finished first or second in the regular season standings the last four years.

It’s not only the team success that has been impressive, especially with last season. Five OUA all-stars, OUA hitter of the year (Ryley Davenport) and Ballantyne being named Coach of the Year for the second time in his eleven years at the helm in 2017 shows how good this team can be.

Third-year catcher Ryley Davenport had company as a first-team OUA all-star with fourth-year shortstop Robert Cant. On the second-team representing Laurier were first-year second baseman Taka Ryan, second-year first baseman Nicholas Cook and second-year pitcher Ryan Symington.

A lot of factors play into teams being able to sustain consistency and success. Stability at the top, good recruiting, and the ability to maintain a winning culture create a mentality that a roster turnover cannot even change.

With much of the roster returning though, the Golden Hawks will be looking to have the same if not more continued success they have had the last few years and a drop-off is not in sight anytime soon.

With a title seeming to be in reach in 2018 again, the key question will be if they can manage to get over the hump for the program’s second OUA title in five years. With plenty of competition, it should be interesting to keep an eye out for the Golden Hawks this upcoming season.

After falling short in the gold medal game the last two years, there will be plenty of motivation going into the 2018 season for that second OUA title with the first one coming in 2014. Nobody takes well to losing two years in a row being that close to the top.

With a culture and success being at the level it has been, recruiting top prospects is usually made easier. People are attracted to success, want to be a part of it and contribute to it.

Ballantyne has done quite the job in adding first baseman Keifer Quick, a Grad student from Notre Dame College, as well as transfer pitcher, Ben Braun who will be transferring from St. Bonaventure University, a Division 1 school in the U.S.

Another key recruit is catcher Carter MacDonald from Simcoe, Ontario, who did not initially have his sights set on staying north of the border for University ball. Being a part of the Ontario Nationals, having played for multiple provincial championship teams and playing with/against college-level players, he has plenty of top notch experience coming in.

Adding players in just about every spot and having the vast majority of the roster returning means depth will not be an issue once again heading into the 2018 season.

With a title seeming to be in reach in 2018 again, the key question will be if they can manage to get over the hump for the program’s second OUA title in five years. With plenty of competition, it should be interesting to keep an eye out for the Golden Hawks this upcoming season.

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Tevaun Kokko and Ali Sow’s outstanding seasons receive All-OUA recognition https://thecord.ca/tevaun-kokko-and-ali-sows-outstanding-seasons-receive-all-oua-recognition/ https://thecord.ca/tevaun-kokko-and-ali-sows-outstanding-seasons-receive-all-oua-recognition/#respond Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:00:27 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48673

Similar to the pros, it’s that time of the year — midway through the OUA men’s basketball playoffs — where we get to see some of the very best the OUA has to offer from this season.

Among this exclusive group, Laurier has two representatives this year, the first being rookie Ali Sow.

Sow put together the most impressive of seasons amongst all rookies as he not only made the OUA all-rookie team, but also won OUA rookie of the year.

Hailing from Ottawa, having had little interest from schools coming out of high school, he quickly proved that he belonged and other scouts definitely passed over a good one.

With some big time performances this year by way of an arsenal of moves on the offensive end, he showed he could be more than just a role player in the OUA.

“It feels like a great accomplishment to me, especially making my family proud and stuff like that,” Sow said.

“Especially knowing that coming in, I wasn’t sure if this year I was going to play basketball because I didn’t have enough recruitment coming my way. Just being able to come here and make an impact, it feels good.”

Coming off the bench but basically playing starters minutes — 25.6/game — he finished 13th in the conference in scoring averaging 16.5 points per game, shooting an efficient 45.9 per cent from the field and 37.8 per cent from 3-point land.

Asked about what his goals and expectations are for next season, he had this to say:

“For myself, I don’t have any expectations really, I just expect myself to be a lot better overall, just offensively and defensively. Just be more available for my teammates and have a better attitude and focus for the game and just help my team win.”

Next up for the Golden Hawks was Tevaun Kokko, who followed up a stellar rookie season making it as a second-team all-star last year as well as being a part of the OUA all-rookie team with another second-team all-star nod.

“Personal accolades, I think they’re always good to have but I’m focused on more on the team kind of stuff and trying to get better in other aspects like leadership and stuff,” Kokko said.

“I think things like conference all-star and stuff just comes as a reflection of the work we’re putting in with the team and all that stuff. It’s pretty cool though.”

Averaging 19.3 points per game — and having a more efficient season than last — Kokko showed he was able to add to his already impressive offensive arsenal, taking on the challenge of being the guy on an up and coming Golden Hawks squad that made some noise this year.

Shooting almost 5 per cent better from the field — 45.3 compared to 40.8 last year — he led the new look Hawks to a 12-12 season and an impressive first-round playoff win versus McMaster before bowing out to Brock in the second round.

Having put together a good season as a team and an impressive one individually, he knows the expectations will be higher going into his junior year.

“I think yes, there is a little bit of pressure. We did a little better than years previous, so I think it gives you a little bit more pressure. But I think that pressure is a good kind of pressure unless you make it too hard on yourself by overthinking,” Kokko said.

“I think it’s just straight basketball at that point and just continuing to do what you’ve been doing your whole life so I guess the pressure is a good thing for us.”

With these two leading the way for a young Golden Hawks squad on the come up and only going into their sophomore and junior years, there is a lot to look forward to next year with this team — and they know it.

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Nicole Morrison’s captivating career ends with the Hawks’ playoffs hopes https://thecord.ca/nicole-morrisons-captivating-career-ends-with-the-hawks-playoffs-hopes/ https://thecord.ca/nicole-morrisons-captivating-career-ends-with-the-hawks-playoffs-hopes/#respond Wed, 28 Feb 2018 12:00:47 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48446

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

Nicole Morrison’s legendary career with the Golden Hawks has come to an end.

The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team’s season had an unfortunate finish with a loss against the Lakehead Thunderwolves in the OUA playoffs last Wednesday.

The season’s conclusion not only marked the end of the year for the Hawks, but it also meant that a number of players have now played in their final games for Laurier, including the school’s all-time leading scorer Nicole Morrison.   

Although the Hawks’ season had an unfortunate conclusion, Morrison’s impact on the Hawks during her time at Laurier cannot be overlooked.

Coming into this season, many expected Morrison to make history as she was on pace to break numerous school records.

She was able to set the all-time scoring record for Laurier against Lakehead on Feb. 17, adding to an already impressive list of accomplishments in her career.

The Hamilton native was also recently named to the OUA Second-Teams All Stars squad, making it her third time being named an OUA All Star.

But perhaps the best achievement of Morrison’s career was her constant improvement and growth on a yearly basis.

“Every single year I looked in retrospect at things I could be better at. I definitely criticized my own game and I came back every summer and focused on things I need to work on. If you put in the work over the summer, you can get way better,” Morrison said.

Her hard work over the years paid dividends on the court as Morrison was able to improve at least one aspect of her game every year.

The steady increase in Morrison’s points-per-game every season directly correlated with her increased playing time.

Once she became a staple of the Hawks rotation, Morrison transformed into the leader that this team desperately needed.

Losing a player of Morrison’s caliber will be difficult for any team not only on the court, but off the court as well.

Add the fact that the Hawks are also going to lose five others players from this year’s team, next season is going to be a challenge for Laurier, to say the least.

Morrison, however, has the utmost confidence in the players that are returning for the Hawks next year.

Morrison’s historic career has come to an end, and it’s fair to say that she will always be remembered as one of the greatest athletes in Laurier history.

“The girls that are coming back next year are capable of filling those shoes. The team really just has to focus on playing team basketball and playing for each other,” she said.

“Teams that are successful are ones that can work together and work as a unit. I think the girls have learned a lot this year and I think they’ll be successful.”

Even though Morrison will not be playing collegiate basketball anymore, she still plans on staying involved with basketball in some capacity.

When asked about how she is going to include basketball in her life going forward, Morrison brought up the possibility of being a member of the coaching team for the Hawks.

“I think I need to take a step back and look at where I can fit basketball into my life now that I’m not a player. It’s definitely going to be hard for me,” she said.

“If possible, I would like to work with the team in strength and conditioning. I feel like in my entire career, one of my biggest strengths was being physically fit and I feel like that’s something I may be interested in doing for the team later on.”

No matter what Morrison decides to do in the future, she will always look back at her time with the Hawks as beneficial.

“In life, in the workforce, or anywhere in general, you have to work with people,” Morrison said.

“And playing basketball for Laurier, I was able to fill many roles in the five years that I was here and I think that’s definitely something that can help me in the future. Being a part of a team sport is so beneficial for your life skills and that’s something I definitely took away from my time here.”

Morrison’s historic career has come to an end, and it’s fair to say that she will always be remembered as one of the greatest athletes in Laurier history.

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Laurier’s season comes to abrupt end at the claws of the Badgers https://thecord.ca/lauriers-season-comes-to-abrupt-end-at-the-claws-of-the-badgers/ https://thecord.ca/lauriers-season-comes-to-abrupt-end-at-the-claws-of-the-badgers/#respond Wed, 28 Feb 2018 12:00:27 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48450

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

It’s been a while since the Wilfrid Laurier University’s men’s basketball team has had a home playoff game.

That changed on Feb. 21 and it also came with a huge win over the red hot McMaster Marauders. This game had a whole different outcome than most expected, with the Hawks winning by 26 points.

The Golden Hawks came out firing after a couple of easy buckets by the McMaster squad. It started out with some offensive rebounds off the hustle of Kemel Archer and it was on from there with the help of a 13-0 run as they went up 10 at one point and finished the quarter up 24-17.

“[Our run] was huge and I knew it was going to be starting on defense. Kemel led us right away with some offensive rebounds and all that stuff, so yeah, definitely was important to get the nerves out, and we did,” head coach, Justin Serresse said.  “The first quarter was amazing. We were up 10 at one point, up seven, that was a very good first quarter and it set the tone for the rest of the game.”

The offensive onslaught continued as the Golden Hawks were able to consistently increase their lead through their ability to stick to their game and never breaking under pressure.

“I think [it was] the mental aspect of it. Guys weren’t able to settle in and focus on things we were supposed to do, offensively especially, to get us going.”

With great ball movement — 27 assists to only 11 turnovers — shooting the ball at such a high clip and playing stifling defense, Laurier dominated.

“I thought we had good movement, making sure everyone was involved and it started with Kokko and Ali. When they’re in the right mindset, which means they’re still aggressive to get to the rim on getting their shots but [they] never lose strike of “who’s open” and we did that. Everybody was locked in and confident,” Serresse said.

Going into the third with a nine-point lead, which ballooned to 18 at one point, caused McMaster to fell apart more and more as the game continued.

In the fourth, that lead hit 30 at one point and Laurier closed it out by a final score of 102-76.

The match up on Feb. 24 brought a whole new challenge against a familiar foe in the Brock Badgers. With the game being so close the last time around, there was hope the Hawks could challenge the Badgers once again. That didn’t happen as Brock came up with a big 91-73 win.

The Badgers pressured and flustered the Golden Hawks into a 27-6 quarter having started out the game on a 13-0 run. It only got uglier in the second quarter as the Badgers went into half up 53-14.

The young Golden Hawks played a far better second half being able to put up a respectable 59 points but Brock didn’t let up as they never allowed their lead to fall below 16 points. In what was a very trying game, the young Hawks’ season came to an abrupt end Saturday.

“I think [it was] the mental aspect of it. Guys weren’t able to settle in and focus on things we were supposed to do, offensively especially, to get us going,” Serresse stated. With a young team that has shown so much promise in challenging and beating top teams this year, in addition to having a roster loaded with talent, coach Serresse knows the expectations are only going to be higher next year.

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What the Hawks need to be successful successful in the playoffs https://thecord.ca/what-the-hawks-need-to-be-successful-successful-in-the-playoffs/ https://thecord.ca/what-the-hawks-need-to-be-successful-successful-in-the-playoffs/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:00:51 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48345

Photo by Nirupam Singh

It would be extremely difficult to describe the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s basketball team’s season in one word.

There have been times when the team has shone — like their five-game win streak early in the second semester — and there have been times when the team has slumped — like the five game losing streak that preceded that very winning streak.

The Golden Hawks have won and lost offensive shootouts — winning 106-92 against Bishop’s, and losing 106-89 against Laurentian — and they have won and lost defensive struggles — winning 62-52 against Algoma and losing 73-69 against Brock.

They have faced long road trips to Bishop’s, Concordia and Ottawa, and played more than a month’s worth of home games in venues other than Laurier’s athletic complex, their home gym having been damaged in a flood.

The Golden Hawks have persevered through a season of ups and downs, a season too interesting to warrant summation with a single word.

Instead, the season should be described by what the team has done and what the team has left to do.

When asked about the first semester’s struggles, second-year guard Tevaun Kokko said: “I think because we’re a young team — I think [we have] eight rookies — a lot of it is just getting to know each other, understanding [each other] on the court, getting to trust each other.

“I think in the second semester we’ve built that trust and that belief in each other,” Kokko said.

Although the Golden Hawks have a winning record this semester, having won six of their last 10 games, the road is not without its bumps.

The Hawks were recently in the midst of a three-game losing streak, which started with a close loss of 73-69 against the number two ranked team in the country, the Brock Badgers.

Speaking about the Brock and Western games — both of which occurred during the slide —

“It’s one game at a time and when that game is over that’s it. Just have that urgency about it. We can make a deep playoff run if we’re all locked in.”

Kokko said: “The Brock game, we were playing the number two team, but I think, even though at one point we were up by four, there were a few mental lapses that didn’t allow us to complete the game.”

“The game against Western I think was just preparation,” Kokko continued.

“We weren’t prepared for some big moments, and those are some things we need to be ready for in a playoff game.”

The three game slide hurts, but sitting in fourth place in the OUA West conference with two games left to play, Laurier is assured a playoff spot.

Furthermore, with their win over Guelph on Feb. 11, the Hawks have clinched home court advantage in the first round.

However, what they do with that playoff spot remains to be seen.

“I think that in the west we can compete with anyone. I think that we have got to dictate what we do and if we end up dictating the pace, the defense and the offense,” he said.

“If we dictate [those] then I don’t think there’s anyone we can’t beat.”

The Golden Hawks have stood toe-to-toe against some of U Sport’s highest-ranked teams, losing close games to Brock, Western and Laurentian, and going 1-1 in their two matchups against Ottawa.

They have skill at every level on the floor, and are especially talented at the guard position, where Tevaun Kokko and rookie Ali Sow are one and two on the team for points, assists and steals.

The Golden Hawks are equipped both mentally and physically for a deep playoff run, and what’s more, they know it.

“It’s one game at a time and when that game is over that’s it. Just have that urgency about it. We can make a deep playoff run if we’re all locked in,” Kokko said.

The season is not yet over, with two regular season games to go before playoffs get under way.

With their win against Guelph, the Hawks can finish no lower than fourth in the OUA West.

However, where they finish shouldn’t matter too much if the Hawks play to their full potential.

Throughout the year, this team has shown that they can compete with any team if they play to the best of their abilities.

As such, the word to describe Laurier’s season has not yet been decided, as there is still so much that needs to fall into place.

Hopefully, once playoffs have come and gone, the one word to sum up the Laurier season will be “winning.”

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Nicole Morrison is on the path to make Laurier history https://thecord.ca/nicole-morrison-is-on-the-path-to-make-laurier-history/ https://thecord.ca/nicole-morrison-is-on-the-path-to-make-laurier-history/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:00:01 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48341

Photo by Sharan Rana

Following a 65-48 loss to Western on Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Hawks were looking to rebound against the Guelph Gryphons with a chance to improve their ranking.

If there was any additional motivation this team needed, it also happened to be Senior’s Day, a day where Laurier honoured seniors Nicole Morrison, Lauren Jamieson, Melissa Pare, Sarah Dillon, Irena Rynkiewicz and Alex Spadaro.

“Obviously it’s great to be able to do that with their families coming down and recogniz[ing] their careers,” head coach, Paul Falco said.

“I mean, there’s six players and our athletic student trainer who put a lot into this program right? They spent a lot of time on and off the court … and to be able to recognize them in that fashion is always nice.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else they could smile about as this game got out of hand quickly with Guelph winning 74-56.

Using a combination of great ball, and off-ball movement as well, Guelph blew the doors open within the first five minutes coming out to a 12-point lead and never looking back.

Laurier had their moments in this game, managing to cut the lead down to under double digits in the second half a couple of times, but to no avail.

The road to glory doesn’t get any easier for the Golden Hawks as they will have less than a week to prepare to play Lakehead on the road in a span of six days, with the first two games being played on the 16 and 17.

“It was a game where our finishing wasn’t very good and then when we finally started to make layups and make jump shots and also our defense got better, that’s where we were able to close the gap,” coach Falco said about his team’s performance.

“But there were too many stretches where we weren’t executing or weren’t finishing offensively and then it seemed to affect our defense. We lost our man a few times and our defense in transition wasn’t good. That was a bad combination and allowed them to really gap us again,” he added.

Even having had an off game, Nicole Morrison managed to break Meaghan McGrath’s single-season scoring record of 425, now having 426 points with two games remaining. She will also have a chance to break McGrath’s career scoring record of 1371, as she now stands with 1358 points.

With a solidified position in the playoffs — now sixth seed — and Lakehead also having the #3 spot locked up, Laurier’s opponent has been secured for not only the final two games of season, but also the first round of the playoffs.

“We’re going to take a day off [and] regroup, but you know, I told the girls ‘we’re not done and I think we have more in us, we’ve got to find a way to go up to Thunder Bay and play three good basketball games so that we could get the result we want,’” Falco said.

“So we’re going to have to work hard starting Tuesday to do that.”

Led by forward Leashja Grant, the leading scorer and rebounder in the OUA, Lakehead proves to be a tough matchup, regardless of how well these teams may get to know each other by way of playing each other twice right before the playoffs.

“We know they’ve got the top scorer and rebounder I think in the province if not the country in Grant, so we’ve got to do some work to prepare,” Falco said.

“We’re probably going to have to try multiple things against her to slow her down and I know that they have other pieces too that could hurt you.”

The road to glory doesn’t get any easier for the Golden Hawks as they will have less than a week to prepare to play Lakehead on the road in a span of six days, with the first two games being played on the 16 and 17.

The playoffs will begin Feb. 21.

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Golden Hawks fall to Windsor after overcoming Brock https://thecord.ca/golden-hawks-fall-to-windsor-after-overcoming-brock/ https://thecord.ca/golden-hawks-fall-to-windsor-after-overcoming-brock/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 12:00:32 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48066

File Photo / Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

Coming off a run where they won three out of their last four games, the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team was looking to continue their strong play into Wednesday where they finally got their rematch with the visiting Brock Badgers.

Having lost the first matchup 65-60 in the season opener, both teams have led two different years with Brock four games out of the playoff race and Laurier in the fifth spot in the division.

In the first quarter, it was clear both teams were going to rely on their defenses to try to win them this game. The one aspect of Laurier’s game that Brock was not able to match was ball movement. Even when it seemed that Brock had them with good rotation on defense, Laurier stayed patient, managing to find the holes in the Badgers’ defense.

“I thought we did a good job on handling their ball screens defensively so we had a bunch of turnovers and some 24-second shot clock violations with some better ball screen defense,” coach Falco said.

In the second quarter, the story became whether Brock could take the lead or Laurier could distance themselves. With Brock relying on their inside game, they managed to keep cutting Laurier’s six-seven point leads down to two or one but then Laurier would create distance. Through the back and forth, Laurier went into halftime up 31-25.

Much of the third quarter resembled the back and forth of the first half, until the last couple of minutes, where the Hawks created distance and kept it. Pushing the lead from seven to 12 in the last bit of the quarter, they put the pressure on the Badgers to see if they could recover.

Unfortunately for the Badgers, that recovery never came as the Hawks pushed their lead to 18 at one point and went on to avenge their season-opening loss with a 73-58 win.

“Offensively, we moved the ball well, we had 20-some odd assists which usually means we’re moving the ball well and hitting the open person,” head coach, Paul Falco said of his team’s offensive performance.

“So, whenever you do that, you get a good chance to gap a team and that’s what we did in that second half.”

Next up was a tough rematch against the no. 9 ranked Windsor Lancers. The last matchup between the Lancers and the Golden Hawks saw Laurier lose 71-60 on the strength of Lancer Emily Prevost’s 30 points and 12 rebounds.

The game-plan for this one led to a different outcome, at least for Prevost.

“We had a couple things we set out to do against Windsor defensively and I thought we did a good job on Emily Prevost, their All-Star,” Falco said. “I think she had 30 in the first game and we held her to around six points in the second game. We set out to do some things against her that worked.”

Unfortunately for the Golden Hawks, they couldn’t muster up much. The first quarter started out well, as Laurier kept it close for the first few minutes. That changed quickly as the Lancers went on a 9-0 run and closed the quarter up 18-11.

In the second, Windsor turned it up as they had their way from the perimeter on offense, hitting six three-pointers in the quarter alone. Playing well on the defensive end to boot, Windsor closed the first half up 40-23.

“What we didn’t do is, we didn’t stop the three-point shot and that was one of our other keys, was to limit their 3-point opportunities, and they had a good day from the three-point line; that obviously hurt us,” Falco said.

Not too much changed in the second half as Laurier was given plenty of trouble on offense due to Windsor’s stingy defensive play in addition to holding their own, not allowing any sort of runs or comeback attempts like the previous matchup. With Nicole Morrison kept in check and also in foul trouble, the Lancers were able to take the win by a score of 67-50.

“The other thing that hurt us was our offense. We had trouble getting high-percentage shots and then when we did we weren’t finishing well. Also, they took Nicole out of the game a little bit. She got into early foul trouble and it was hard for her to get into a flow,” Falco mentioned.

Next up for the Golden Hawks is a rematch against the Western Mustangs on Feb. 7 at the University of Waterloo.

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Hawks lose momentum on the road to the playoffs https://thecord.ca/hawks-lose-momentum-on-the-road-to-the-playoffs/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-lose-momentum-on-the-road-to-the-playoffs/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 11:58:18 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=48068

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

When the season began, the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s basketball team had plenty of buzz for all the additions that had been made to go along with the young talent that was already on the roster.

Going 3-7 to start the year, unable to match the hype, the question became whether they’ll find it in them to meet the buzz.

With the coming of the New Year bringing a 6-2 start, their next challenge was how they’d compete against upper echelon teams. That began with the no. 2 ranked Brock Badgers who made a visit to Waterloo on Wednesday.

The way you start is everything in any big matchup and the way the Golden Hawks began was one worthy of remembering for future reference as to how you want to start. With the game-plan being, “don’t turn it over and compete on the glass,” coach Serresse’s team got to work.

Applying pressure on the defensive end and forcing turnovers, Laurier had Brock shook.

After finishing the first quarter up four points, the Hawks continued to raise the intensity limiting Brock to 29 per cent shooting from the field. In comparison, the Hawks shot 48 per cent, going into halftime up 37-28.

“First half, we don’t turn it over, we’re playing great, with great pace. Seems like we were getting out, I was very impressed with our first half. We were very comfortable, they were pressuring us but we handled it well, we didn’t panic,” head coach Justin Serresse said.

The second half was a completely different story as Brock opened it up with a 13-0 run to take the lead and in the process holding Laurier scoreless for the first 4:13 of the third quarter. From that point forth, Laurier kept it close but were incapable of taking the lead.

This continued as Brock slowly started increasing their lead, at one point leading by ten with less than 2:30 left in the game. It was on from there as Laurier, behind a career-night by Ali Sow (31 points, 21 in the second half) surged to cut the lead to three points with 30 seconds left.

With six seconds left, still down three, Laurier lost possession just after their inbound, with an absurd call by the referees on Matt Minutillo which returned possession to Brock where they hit one more free throw to end the game with a final score of 73-69.

“They came out in the third quarter and they kind of increased the intensity, but we panicked. Really, just not coming out of the gate in the third with the same type of aggressiveness and confidence,” coach Serresse said.

Next up on the schedule was a rematch with the Windsor Lancers for the #3 spot in the OUA West with both teams entering the matchup at 9-10.

In the first game, Windsor had a little more trouble hitting their shot from outside. To say the least, the narrative was not the same on Friday night.

Laurier coming off the tough loss against Brock, did not seem like themselves, especially on defense.

“Our goal was to dominate the rebounding and protect the three-point line or try our best to challenge every shot, which we didn’t finish, which was disappointing,” coach Serresse said.

With Windsor able to hold a healthy lead throughout the first half and some of the third, the narrative of this game changed just past the halfway point in the third quarter. Down 13, Laurier made a 17-4 run to close the quarter and go up 64-62.

Windsor, unlike the first matchup between these squads, managed to close this one out though. Quickly taking the lead within the first couple of minutes, the Lancers went on to push their lead to 11 at one point as Laurier was not able to do anything about the offensive show Windsor put on. Shooting 46.2 per cent from the field and 40.6 per cent from three, Windsor managed to avenge their loss from weeks ago.

“Overall, I was disappointed with the urgency and the effort. We didn’t contest as many shots as we’re capable of. Our defense was low, we didn’t have each other’s back, we didn’t rotate; just no urgency,” coach Serresse said post-game.

Next up for Laurier is a rematch against Western on Feb. 7 at the University of Waterloo.

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