Mazerolle out but Laurier still victorious
With the season winding down, it’s crunch time.
The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team is currently tied for second in the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) west division after a tight, physical battle against the fourth place McMaster Marauders Saturday afternoon.
Despite only shooting 40 per cent, the Hawks took the game 81-71 and improved to a record of 12-6 on the season.
With the win, Laurier now sits equal to the Brock Badgers (12-7) at 24 points, but with a game in hand. The race for second is on, as the Hawks look toward the final stretch of the regular season.
“One of our goals is to get home court and if we can finish second, great, that’s still a possibility,” head coach Paul Falco said.
“We’ve got four games left and if we can [win] four-for-four we’ll have a good shot of getting second place. Maybe three out of four will do it.”
Struggling with their defense, the Golden Hawks fought hard to hang on to a loose lead at the end of the first quarter only to fall behind for the next 24 minutes. In the final quarter, Kimberley Yeldon led the Hawks to an offensive spurt while Amber Hillis performed solidly on defense to secure a home victory.
“[Hillis’] probably has the biggest heart in one of the smallest bodies,” Falco said. “She’s someone who comes to compete and battle every moment out there.”
And compete she did.
Coming out strong in the third quarter with a big steal on McMaster’s Elizabeth Burns, Hillis also sunk 15 points and grabbed three rebounds and four assists.
“She hit some big shots for us, gave us some great defense and was able to control the tempo so she did a great job,” said Falco.
Yeldon would also put up a team high 18 points, with nine rebounds and one assist while rookie Shelby Kurt netted 15 points, two rebounds and three assists.
Without the aid of the dominant Felicia Mazerolle, who was sidelined due to a concussion, the Hawks still managed to have five of their players in double digits for points.
Defense was the only problem for Laurier, as they struggled to keep McMaster out of their zone. The Hawks gave up 23 points in the second quarter to trail the Marauders going into the half.
The third showed tighter defense, but McMaster still managed 16 points to stay ahead by one.
“Our defense got a little bit better in the second half, which was our focus because we weren’t pleased with our second-quarter defense and then we were able to knock down some key shots against their zone,” Falco said.
“I thought we really persevered which was probably one of the reasons that we won it. We were able to stick with it,” Falco said. “Overall, I’m pleased with the effort.”
Laurier hosts the Guelph Gryphons tonight at the Athletic Complex before welcoming the No.2 Windsor Lancers Saturday afternoon. Tip offs are 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.