Laurier basketball start their season 1-1

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Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

Potential comes with questions and the Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team, with a little bit of a newer look this year, are out to prove something. With a 70-63 win over the Western Mustangs, they showed what they’re capable of.

The game started out being all Laurier. From great ball movement to great shooting, to playing great defence, the Golden Hawks could do no wrong, as they put it all together in the form of a 26-15 first quarter.

The second quarter was much of the same as they pushed their lead going into halftime to 16 with the score being 44-28, behind 62.1 per cent shooting from the field and 63.6 percent from three.

“I liked our ball movement offensively, our confidence. If you’re looking at the first half, offensively, was exactly how we draw as far as a game-plan. We did exactly what we wanted to do. I thought our groove was definitely on; I was happy about that, finally getting back into our style of play,” coach Serresse said.

In addition to great offence came great defence as they also forced the Mustangs into playing a lot of iso-ball in addition to the Mustangs being as cold as could possibly be, especially from 3-point land.

“We got lucky on a few breaks, they missed a lot of open shots. The other thing, our defence was great again. For once, it’s in our favours, I just think we can still improve defensively, that’s just the message we had at the end of the game.”

Led by Ali Sow and coach Serresse putting the prowess of the roster available to him, it didn’t seem like anything was changing in the second half. 

Rachel Woodburn, who led the way for Laurier with 15 points and nine rebounds, brought the Hawks within one point with a pair of free throws but Laurier could not capitalize on that as Western was able to finish out with the win behind Debora Kamba who made a key steal with no time to spare.

Contrary to that belief, that’s exactly what happened. Western came out and strapped all the way up on the defensive end, forcing bad turnovers. With guys getting into foul trouble for Laurier, the Mustangs really capitalized with a 19-9 third quarter, bringing the lead down to four at one point and finally hitting a 3-ball after missing about their first 18.

The fourth quarter was a dog fight for both sides. Every time Western got within three or four points, Laurier came back with an answer to push the lead up anywhere from six to nine points. Getting big buckets in big moments is where Laurier found their way into finishing this game out, accompanied by Western’s nightmare-like shooting night. 

The Wilfrid Laurier women’s basketball team were looking to make it two straight wins against the Western Mustangs following a 63-51 win in their season opener against the Brock Badgers to kick off the 2018-2019 season. On this night though, the Mustangs were out to show they were better than the 30-point loss they suffered to Guelph, as they came out with the 68-65 win in overtime against the Hawks.

The game was all Western to start as they swiftly jumped out to a 14-4 lead midway through the first quarter. They pressured Laurier on the defensive end and got the buckets they needed led by Laura Graham and Julia Curran. 

After slightly catching up to make it 20-14 to end the first, the Mustangs got back to business making the score 26-16 halfway through the second quarter. 

“First half, our defence started out not very good. We gave up a lot of points in the first quarter — 20 points, which we haven’t been doing a lot of this year. Offensively, we struggled. They put a little bit of pressure on the ball and we had trouble getting into our offence and I think overall, throughout the game, we turned it over too much. That was probably the biggest problem at the beginning,” coach Falco said.

The second half was as close as could be with plenty of lead changes. Late in the fourth quarter, down 56-53, Julia Curran, not usually a 3-point shooter for Western, hit a 3-ball to tie the game with 10 seconds left and send it to overtime.

“So we had the lead, right down to the end, they made a tough 3-point shot out of a person who’s not usually a big 3-point shooter for them. Obviously if that doesn’t go in, we have a good chance of winning the game.”

Laurier held the lead for much of the overtime period until Curran tied the game on a free throw and then followed by a 3-pointer by Emma Johnson to put Western up 66-63 with 1:38 left. 

Rachel Woodburn, who led the way for Laurier with 15 points and nine rebounds, brought the Hawks within one point with a pair of free throws but Laurier could not capitalize on that as Western was able to finish out with the win behind Debora Kamba who made a key steal with no time to spare.

Next up for the women’s and men’s basketball teams will be back-to-back matchups against the reigning national champions, the Carleton Ravens, and Ottawa Gee-Gees in Ottawa.

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