Windsor toppled: Hawks sixth in country
Women reach their highest ever ranking in the CIS
As the clock hit the three minute mark in an all too familiar gym, Kaitlyn Schenck’s three ball hit the bottom of the net. It was the proverbial dagger, pushing the Golden Hawks over the best team in the country, the Windsor Lancers, by a score of 60-53 on Saturday.
“I think they were just shocked the entire time,” said second-year guard Nicole Morrison, who had 16 points in the game.
“I think we showed people that Windsor is beatable this year,” added fifth-year center Whitney Ellenor, who had six points in the win.
The win against Windsor followed a Laurier blowout against the Western Mustangs by a score of 75-49.
The Lancers have gotten the better of the Golden Hawks in 18 straight meetings, dating back to November 2007.
The divisional rival Lancers have stymied the progress of the Hawks continuously, but this time the Wilfrid Laurier University club used them as a stepping stone to continue their storied season.
It thrusts the Hawks to a 10-1 record to start the season — the best start in program history. It also provides the Lancers with their first loss at home in five years and their first loss of the season, as they sit at 9-1. The one loss matches their total for last season.
“It’s definitely satisfying, it’s a great win for the program. But I think the biggest thing I felt was for those girls, the veterans, who had been through some tough games in that gym,” said head coach Paul Falco.
“For them it was a great feeling to get that one and a little bit of redemption for the games over the past few years.”
Ellenor, who had never beaten the Lancers in her five-year career at Laurier, watched the stunned Lancer club exit their home court after the loss.
“Going into the locker room after and watching them walk back in — they are kind of silent. That’s the first time we have silenced this team in a long time so it was amazing to leave that and be like, ‘Yeah we just beat Windsor on their home court.’ There’s no better feeling that that,” she said.
According to Morrison, this difference in approaching Windsor came not in the physical gameplay, but rather in the mentality entering the matchup.
“Honestly before the game we thought, ‘This is ours, we are going to win this,’ ” she said.
“Last year we came into the game against Windsor thinking they are a really good team and we’ll try our best, but this year this is our game. We had that mindset the entire time.”
Ellenor echoed her guard’s confidence, reiterating that this Laurier club, now with the best record in the province, was not to be stopped on Saturday.
“No one was really nervous, we were all just ready to go, ready to play and we knew that we were going to win it,” she said.
Despite achieving OUA bronze last year, Laurier was not ranked nationwide until last week when they cracked the eighth spot in the country.
“I kind of feel like we are still the underdogs. I know there are a lot of people out there that think it was just a fluke and that we won’t be able to do it again,” Morrison said.
While Laurier will surely bask in the glory of knocking of the best team in the country, coach Falco was determined that the club has no choice but to continue improving as they approach the rest of the year.
“If you go sideways at all then someone is going to pass you or catch so for us we have to stay focused on each game as it comes and not get caught up on where we are at with our record,” he said.
Ellenor said she believes the 10-1 squad has yet to hit their ceiling.
“I think beating Windsor is just a big step forward and we just have to maintain that,” she said. “Every team is coming for us now.”