Golden Hawks sweep two game set against Nipissing and Laurentian
This past weekend the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team travelled North to face the Nipissing Lakers and the Laurentian Voyageurs on consecutive nights.
On Friday evening the Golden Hawks ruled both ends of the floor, holding the Lakers to 40 points while totaling 83 of their own. Fifth-year guard Nicole Morrison led the Hawks offensively, pouring in 21 points over the course of the contest, while second-year guard Brianna Iannazzo added 19 points, 12 of them coming from three pointers.
“We had a solid all-around game against Nipissing on Friday night, and we improved our defense from last week,” head coach, Paul Falco said of the win.
The defensive struggle he referred to was apparent in Laurier’s second contest.
The Hawks faced off against a Laker’s offense that, in three of its four previous contests, was unable to score more than 50 points. Against Laurier, Laurentian amassed 75 points and held a 10-point lead unti; late in the fourth quarter.
However, Laurier’s signature grit came through when the team needed it most and the team ripped off a 24-8 scoring run late in the fourth, snatching victory away from the Voyageurs and finishing with a score of 81-75.
“It’ll be a tough week, Ottawa is always a challenge … we will need to defend well and rebound well because both Ottawa and Carleton are very good defensively … we will need to get out and run and score in transition.”
Falco commented on the late surge noting that “there were a couple of factors” that led to the comeback.
“I think our pace started to tire Laurentian out, and our rebounding improved. Also, we had some sparks coming off the bench,” Falco said.
The “sparks” he referred to were Rachel Woodburn, who recorded 13 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Lauren Jamieson, who added 12 points and seven rebounds of her own.
Another boost, in addition to these clutch fourth-quarter performances, came from Nicole Morrison. Her consistent offensive efforts resulted in 25 points; an impressive total that matched her career-high and led the Hawks in scoring for the third regular-season game in a row.
The fourth quarter demonstrated what the team is capable of when they are performing optimally, and they will need to carry that momentum into this weekend, with both Ottawa and Carleton coming to town.
Of next week’s opponents head coach Paul Falco said: “It’ll be a tough week, Ottawa is always a challenge … we will need to defend well and rebound well because both Ottawa and Carleton are very good defensively … we will need to get out and run and score in transition.”
The Ottawa Gee-Gees will be hungry for a second win after losing to Guelph on Saturday — which dropped them to one and one — and Carleton is two and 0, currently ranked as the fourth-best team in the country and eager for another run at a national championship.
Neither opponent will afford Laurier an easy win, but Laurier doesn’t need one.
Against the Voyageurs the Golden Hawks were the away team, they trailed by 10 late in the fourth quarter and they weren’t even playing at the level they are accustomed to. It takes mental fortitude to charge back into the game as they did, and it also takes the ability — as Falco puts it — “to battle every night and compete at a high-level.”
That mental toughness — merged with skill and coaching — is a recipe for success, no matter who the Golden Hawks are facing up against.