Hawks suffer third loss of season

(Photo by Madeline Turriff)

(Photo by Madeline Turriff)

Fresh off a four-game winning streak, with their latest game ending in a blowout win against the Waterloo Warriors, the red-hot Wilfrid Laurier women’s basketball team hosted the struggling Guelph Gryphons on Saturday afternoon.

However, Guelph centre Katherine MacTavish dominated the game, netting a season-best 34 points — over half of her team’s overall points — and carrying the Gryphons to a nail-biting 66-64 win. Guelph ran almost all of their offensive sets through MacTavish, who also hit all 14 of her free throws throughout the game.

Down two points and faced with a double team, point guard Lee Anna Osei threw a last-second desperation heave at the game-ending buzzer. The shot just missed the net and bounced off the side of the rim.

“Overall, I thought we played a pretty good game. Guelph just hit shots when it mattered,” Hawks head coach Paul Falco said after the game. “We missed some open jumpers down the stretch and didn’t capitalize on some opportunities. It happens.”

From start to finish, neither team had a comfortable lead. Although Laurier led 33-29 at the half and had a convincing 61-53 lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Gryphons’ fast-paced style of play was too much to handle for the Hawks.

“They had more of a run-and-gun basketball style. They pushed the ball up the court quickly and made it difficult for our players to adjust on defence,” said Falco.

The game was very intense, with physical defensive plays occurring on both sides of the floor. In the last minutes of the second quarter, forward Kaitlyn Schenck was intentionally elbowed in her ribs by a Guelph guard after completing free throws. She lay on the ground for several minutes in pain before being helped off the court. No foul was called on the play.

“She got elbowed in her side by a Guelph player, that’s all I know,” said Falco. “Kaitlyn’s a tough-minded girl though, she handled the situation well.”

Laurier forward Doreen Bonsu and centre Whitney Ellenor both had solid outings — scoring 12 and 16 points, respectively. Both also had a significant impact on defence — Bonsu grabbed six rebounds and the 6’3” Ellenor contested several shots in the painted area.

However, even with the performance of Bonsu and Ellenor, Laurier’s defence was its downfall in the final 12 minutes. Guelph outscored the Hawks 18-12 in that time, and the Gryphons leading scorer Katherine MacTavish was rarely double-teamed.

The Hawks, now 13-3 on the season, are still in control of the second seed in the West with 26 points, however they dropped to No. 9 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) top ten rankings. Their next game is against the first-place and No. 1 nationally ranked Windsor Lancers, who last toppled Laurier on their home court 73-44.

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