Many mistakes stymie Hawks
Offensive and defensive mistakes lead to two consecutive losses to No. 8 Windsor and Western
The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team are going through some growing pains.
The Hawks dropped their first two games 85-80 to the No. 8 nationally-ranked Windsor Lancers and 80-61 to the Western Mustangs to kick off the 2015-16 season.
The Hawks stayed in the game against the defending national champions, staying even with them in every quarter except the second when the Lancers pulled away with a five-point lead. That proved to be the difference maker in the game — on top of being out-rebounded by 20 rebounds and keeping the Hawks outside of the paint.
“I thought our compete level was really good. They’re a tough team — the defending national champions and [Windsor]’s a big and strong team. They hurt us inside, especially in rebounding,” head coach Paul Falco said.
“But I like the way the girls competed and I think we gained some confidence in that game.”
The Hawks’ defence broke down come their next matchup against the Western Mustangs. The Mustangs grabbed onto a dominant 50-19 lead by halftime. While the Hawks cleaned their game up with a strong third quarter that closed the gap to within 15 points, the Mustangs battled back and took control of the game, sinking the Hawks into a winless hole. According to Falco, the Hawks were unable to match the same intensity they brought to Windsor last Wednesday evening, and made too many mistakes that Western eventually capitalized on.
“The first half of the Western game in the first quarter we didn’t have that same intensity and Western did a good job of jumping on our mistakes,” he said. “We were able to battle back in the third quarter and started to play like we were capable, but we got some learning to do and we got some growing to do.”
Laurier prides themselves in defence, but the breakdown against Western was on all sides of the ball. According to Falco, the Hawks struggled to take care of the basketball, which led to a lot of turnovers on top of not knocking down shots, and on the defensive side were unable to stop the Mustangs’ drive into the paint.
“One of our worst [matches] in a long while. The girls were pretty disappointed, but they did bounce back. We just have to put that one behind us,” he said.
The beginning of the season also gives a snapshot on how well the team is doing without some of their key components. The Hawks are without all-star calibre athletes Samantha Jacobs, Whitney Ellenor and Lee Anna Osei who graduated last year.
Despite the lineup changes, Falco sees opportunity for the young players to step up.
“Anytime you go through something like that you are going to have to figure things out,” Falco said. “You are going to need people to step up in places. There’s a couple positions that are a little bit younger and some growing pains.”
The Hawks look to turn their season around when they travel to Sault Ste. Marie to battle the Algoma Thunderbirds. Tip off is at 1 p.m., on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 at George Leach Centre.