Hawks fight for playoff position

(Photo by Adam Gagnon, Laurier Athletics)

(Photo by Adam Gagnon, Laurier Athletics)

Just inches from clinching a playoff berth, the Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team is powering forward and hoping to earn a solid spot for the post-season.

And Saturday’s match against cross-town rivals, the Waterloo Warriors, was another step towards attaining that goal.

The 83-49 blowout bumped the team into third place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division, holding the spot by virtue of tiebreakers over the Western Mustangs.

The 34-point differential also marked the largest margin of victory for the Hawks this season.

“We knew we had to get our game back after Wednesday’s performance,” said Laurier head coach Paul Falco.

“Our goal was to play a lot better defence.”

The Hawks took to the Warriors early in the first quarter with a 12-point lead.

The Warriors — who have yet to win a game this season — kept with the purple and gold late in the second quarter, but could not muster much offence.

Due to a number of injuries and illnesses, the Warriors only dressed nine players on Saturday, but their fatigue didn’t show until the fourth quarter, when the Hawks outscored them 24-9.

“They always battle tough,” said Laurier guard, Laura Doyle. “We had to come out strong and keep it going.”

The Hawks forced 12 turnovers throughout the game, which led to 32 of their 83 points.

“We were just trying to deny the pass and try and get in the lanes,” Doyle explained.

“When they try and push it inside they’re effective so we just tried to put pressure on them.”

Doyle put up 12 points, good enough to tie her for the team-high with teammate Doreen Bonsu. Bonsu also led the squad with the most rebounds of the game with nine.

Following wins from Laurier and Western on Saturday, the Hawks and Mustangs sit with identical records at 9-8. McMaster sits two points behind after a loss to Western Saturday afternoon.

The Hawks have four games left in the regular season, and could still potentially miss the playoffs.

“Our goal is to try and peak in February,” Falco said, who noted the tight race in the standings.

“We have to really only take one game at a time.”

Next up, the Hawks take on the No. 7 Brock Badgers, who are resting comfortably in second in the West behind the Windsor Lancers. Brock’s only loss came against the Marauders in a

“[A win] is a chance for us to stay ahead,” Falco said.

Laurier  faces Brock Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Athletic Complex and will be on the road this weekend travelling to Western.

Laurier’s final home game will be also against Western on Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

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