Hawks head west

Having already made it further than any other season in their history, the Golden Hawks’ women’s basketball team is one step away from achieving another first: playing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Final Eight.

Despite losing to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze medal game on Saturday night, the Hawks still qualify for this weekend’s regional finals and are just one step away from competing for the national championship.

“Our biggest goal was to try and go into [regionals] playing well,” said Laurier head coach Paul Falco of the OUA bronze medal game, which was more about seeding for regionals than the actual medal.

“Our biggest thing was to try and go into round one of the nationals playing well. Obviously we wanted to win [OUA bronze], we still had a chance to host, but we really just wanted to play a little bit better than the week before and I thought for the first half we did that.”

The Hawks came flying out of the gate on Saturday night in Toronto, out-scoring the Blues 20-8 in the first quarter. However, they would slowly lose their grip on the game, being out-scored themselves in all three other frames, leading to a 62-54 U of T win.

“In the second half U of T really tightened up their defence and our execution on offence got a little sloppy,” said Falco. “On top of that we had a couple turnovers that led to some easy baskets for them and then they got transition game going…. It was a disappointing result, but now, we can just focus on what’s ahead.”

What’s ahead for the Hawks is a trip to Regina, Sask. where the University of Regina will be hosting the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Western Regional finals. With the Hawks still not thought of as a basketball power on the national stage, Falco believes his team can play the underdog role perfectly once again, just like they did when they upset the number-three nationally ranked Western Mustangs in the OUA West semifinal.

“I think there’s no pressure on us; we’re not really supposed to be there,” said Falco. “So we have a good opportunity to surprise some teams and I know we’ve got a lot of competitive people who love to go out there and prove people wrong.”

The Hawks will take on the University of Quebec at Montreal Citadins on Friday night in the regional semifinal. Should they win that game they will play either Regina or the University of Victoria for the right to play in the CIS Final Eight, hosted by Windsor next weekend.