Team effort key to Laurier basketball success; 5-1 to start off the season

Laurier's women's basketball team is off to their best start since 2010-11. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

Laurier’s women’s basketball team is off to their best start since 2010-11. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team looked to continue their strong start to the season as they hosted the York Lions on Saturday afternoon.

Their 66-62 win on Friday night over the Queen’s Gaels placed the Hawks into the top three in the competitive Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division.

Against Queen’s, the Hawks were led by four players getting into double digits, including Lee Anna Osei, Bree Chaput, Samantha Jacobs and Kaitlyn Schenck. Fourth-year Doreen Bonsu also returned from injury and had four points and five rebounds in her first game back.

The York Lions, on the other hand, have had a rough start to their season as they looked to shake off their four-game losing streak Saturday afternoon.

With great defence and solid shooting from beyond the three-point line, the Golden Hawks edged the Lions 64-54.

Rookie Nicole Morrison had a breakout game, leading the Hawks with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and great defensive plays against tough matchups.

“It felt great to play that way,” said Morrison.

“I’ve been struggling early on in the season, so it feels great to help my team out like that. Now I just have to bring that intensity to the next game.”

The first quarter was well played by both teams, as Laurier and York scored 17 points apiece.

However, the Hawks’ hustle on the defensive end held the Lions to only five points in the second quarter, while Laurier went on to net 21.

The defensive effort continued into the second half, and the Hawks found themselves with a comfortable 51-32 lead after three quarters.

“The girls really trusted each other out there,” said head coach Paul Falco.

“Communication is the key to defence, and I thought they communicated really well today.”

Forwards Schenck and Alexandra Spadaro added to the Golden Hawks’ offence, netting 11 and eight points respectively.

Spadaro was also a noticeably solid defensive presence, limiting York’s go-to inside player, forward Shauney Fischer, to three points in the entire contest.

Although the Lions outplayed the Hawks in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late for York’s basketball squad, who is now 1-5 and rests in fifth place in the OUA East division.

The win over York propels Laurier, now 5-1 on the season, to a first-place seeding in the West — the team’s best start since the 2010-2011 season.

It also puts them in a four-way tie for first place in the OUA West with six games played.

“We’ve had a good start to the season, but the girls can’t let up. We’re in this for the long run,” Falco said.

The team faces its toughest competition next weekend as they venture to the nation’s capital to face the Carleton Ravens (4-1) on Friday and the Ottawa Gee Gees (3-2) on Saturday, teams that are renowned for their defensive prowess.

This will be the first big competition for the Hawks in the 2013-14 campaign.

“We’re playing two of the top defensive teams in the country, so we have to be more efficient on offence. We have to communicate more and make sure we find open players on the wings,” said Falco.

“On defence, it’s simple — we can’t allow any easy baskets.”

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