Vets step up in consolation semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. — Renata Adamczyk, Mallory Kohlmeier and Megan Grant did not want Saturday to be the last time they played basketball for the Laurier Golden Hawks.

Playing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) consolation semifinals, the three Laurier fifth-years stepped up, combining for 33 points, leading the Hawks to a 56-52 to win over the third-seeded Carleton Ravens. The win moves Laurier into the consolation final, playing for fifth-place, on Sunday afternoon versus either the Toronto Varsity Blues or the Laval Rouge et Or.

“I’m really pleased for Mallory, Renata and Megan,” said Laurier head coach Paul Falco. “We could tell they didn’t want it to end, they want to go right until tomorrow… Getting a win at nationals is great and I couldn’t be more happy for those three girls.”

After a slow Laurier start and a tightly defended first half from both teams, the Hawks led just 23-22 at halftime. However, coming out of the break, Laurier locked down on defence, also finding their stride offensively.

“We made some defensive adjustments and just started switching up more,” said Adamczyk who had 12 points in the game. “We started giving each other more defensive help in the third and then that carried over for the rest of the game.”

The Ravens would make the Hawks sweat in the fourth quarter tying it up at 52 late in the game. However, Christa Mancino — Laurier’s leading scorer with 16 points — and Adamczyk went a combined 4/4 on clutch free throws in the final minute to seal the win for the purple and gold.

The win marks the first at the CIS finals in Laurier women’s basketball history and according to Falco is just yet another step forward the team has taken this season.

“It’s very big for our program,” he said. “We’ve had a number of firsts this season. Being ranked in the top 10 was a first, qualifying the way we did was a first and then now we have our first win at nationals and it’s great. These are the top teams in the country and we’re starting to show that we can compete with them.”

Carleton is also the third number-three team the Hawks — who came into this tournament seeded seventh — have upset this post-season. First they beat the No. 3 ranked Western Mustangs in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West semifinals, then the Regina Rams, who took over the number three spot after the Mustangs’ loss to Laurier, in last weekend’s regional final and then finally the Ravens, who came into the CIS Final Eight in the third spot.

“We get pumped up to play top teams, I know that,” said Falco. “We match up well against a lot of these teams and we’ve been able to really take care of things on the defensive end.”

Laurier now awaits their opponent for tomorrow’s game, which will determine the fifth-place team in the CIS. Should it be Toronto, the Hawks will get a shot at avenging their loss to the Blues in the OUA bronze medal game two weeks ago.

“We would love another crack at Toronto,” said Adamczyk, who, along with Kohlmeier and Grant, will play her final game as a Golden Hawk on Sunday. “It was great to take down Carleton and now we just want to keep it going.”

The Hawks will play either Toronto or Laval, Sunday at 11:00 am at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre.