Women’s basketball back on track

Not a lot has gone wrong this season for the Golden Hawks women’s basketball team. After their 5-0 start, the purple and gold have maintained their spot amongst the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division’s elite, currently sitting in third.

However, coming into Saturday’s match-up with the Brock Badgers, the Hawks found themselves in an unfamiliar position on a cold streak. Having lost three of their past four games and two in a row, Laurier needed a bounce-back game and that’s what they got, downing the Badgers 69-59 to improve to 11-5.

“The girls bounced back really well. We played really hard in the first half but I thought we didn’t execute as well in the second half,” said Laurier head coach Paul Falco. “But it was a good win and a good way to get back in the win column.”

The Hawks seemed in control of the game right from the opening tipoff, leading for the entire game. However, the team felt like they let the scrappy Badgers hang around longer than they should have.

“It was a little bit closer than we would’ve liked it to be,” said fourth-year Megan Grant. “It was a little scrambled at times but we managed to pull through at the end.”

While veterans Grant and fifth-year Renata Adamczyk led the way for the Hawks with 15 and 13 points respectively, the purple and gold saw a number of rookies step up on Saturday.

First-year Felicia Mazzerolle continued to grow into the starter’s role at point guard, while fellow rookie Laura Doyle put up seven points and two rebounds.

But the best rookie performance of the afternoon came from Doreen Bonsu, who contributed eight points and seven rebounds, coming off the bench and taking control when the Badgers were gaining momentum in the second quarter.

“Doreen stepped up and took care of things defensively and gave us some offence as well,” said Falco. “We’re really pleased by our rookies, the ‘fab five’ as we like to call them all have a bright future.”

Those rookie performances, particularly that of Mazzerolle, have been especially key with the injury to veteran point guard Amber Hillis. According to Falco, Hillis is still undergoing tests on the injured back that has kept her sidelined for the vast majority of the season, but could return in the next few weeks.

In addition to ending their first cold streak of the season, the win over the Badgers gives the Hawks some breathing room in the crowded OUA west standings. Laurier now sits alone in third, two points up on Brock and Lakehead. With six games left in the regular season, Grant believes her team can be a dark horse heading into the playoffs.

“People give us a lot of respect,” she said. “But that could be one of our strengths because we can come in and surprise a lot of people.”