Hawks go undefeated in weekend action

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It may be early, but Paul Falco is happy with his team.

After 61-58 win over the Cape Breton Capers Thursday and a 69-60 win over the McGill Martlets Friday, the Laurier women’s basketball team came away with wins in each of its first two pre-season games.

“I was happy with the weekend,” said Falco, who is entering his fifth season as the team’s head coach. “We’ve got a lot of new pieces and finding out where everyone fits is going to be a bit of a work in progress, but this weekend we played 13 different girls and they all came out and played well.”

Friday’s win over McGill was particularly encouraging for the Hawks, as last season the Martlets won the Quebec conference, earning a trip to nationals. While the end score showed a nine-point win, the Hawks were securely in the driver’s from the opening tipoff.

“McGill’s definitely a really strong team,” said fifth-year point guard Amber Hillis. “We came out a little rough in the first half, but we really picked it up. We knew what we needed to work on and we executed really well.”

As the only experienced point guard on the roster, following the loss of 2010-11 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West rookie of the year Felicia Mazerolle due to academic reasons, Hillis will be looked on to play an expanded role this upcoming season.

“I don’t think I really feel it,” said Hillis when asked if she feels any added pressure. “We have some really good young players and I think as they get more experience, it’ll only help out.”

Rookie Kitchener native Kaitlyn Shenck appears to be a likely candidate to take on some of the point guard duties coming off the bench. Shenck played 13 minutes on the court versus Cape Breton and 20 against McGill, scoring a team-high 11 points versus the Martlets.

The Hawks will also likely see significant minutes from third-year guard Lee Anna Osei, who didn’t play due to injury against McGill.

Laurier also lost their leading scorer and 2011-12 OUA West rookie of the year Shelby Kurt, who left the university to pursue a college program in the nursing field.

“We’ve kind of moved on from that,” said Falco when asked about replacing Kurt and Mazerolle. “We’ve brought in some girls that compete just as hard as [Kurt and Mazerolle] and now it’s just a matter of determining what style of basketball we’re going to play.”

The Hawks continue their pre-season schedule this weekend when they travel to Ottawa for the Metro Glebe Tournament before returning home for their final two pre-season matches.

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