Women’s basketball eyeing revenge

On Saturday afternoon the steady train that has come to categorize this season of Laurier women’s basketball was slightly de-railed. The first-place Western Mustangs stormed into the WLU Athletic Complex and handed the Hawks just their fourth loss of the season.

“They came out strong and fast,” said fifth-year Hawk Renata Adamczyk. “They got a lot of looks off of transition early and we had to dig ourselves out of a hole right from the start of the game.”

Saturday’s match-up marked the first meeting of the season between the Mustangs and Hawks, who, coming into the game were ranked first and second respectively in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division.

After the 70-62 loss in which the Hawks found themselves trailing right from the opening 30 seconds to the final buzzer, Laurier head coach Paul Falco sees that his team still has work to do if they want to be considered among the league’s elite.

“I think it’s a good measuring stick,” he said of the loss to the Mustangs. “Western’s a tough team, they’re deep and they shoot the ball really well. So that gives us some things to go back and work on and I think offensively we’ve got to take care of the ball better, we had too many unforced turnovers that really hurt us.”

Falco won’t have to wait long to see if that work has paid off as the now 10-4 Hawks will travel to London for a rematch with the 12-2 Mustangs. After Saturday’s loss and wins by both the Windsor Lancers and the Lakehead Thunderwolves, the purple and gold suddenly find themselves tied with the Thunderwolves for third in the division with the 9-5 Brock Badgers not far behind.

That makes tonight’s game versus Western not only a crucial statement game, but also a key factor for the Hawks’ positioning in the standings.

“Our league is pretty tight, but that just means that any team can win on any given night,” said Adamczyk. “Western’s a great team, but we know we can compete with them.”

Likely getting yet another start tonight for the Hawks will be rookie point guard Felicia Mazzerolle. Mazzerolle was thrust into the starting role earlier this season due to a back injury to three-year veteran Amber Hillis.

Although there have been some growing pains — as evidenced by a few costly turnovers on Saturday — according to Falco, the first-year has shown marked improvement in running the Hawks’ attack.

“Felicia’s done a great job,” he said. “If you look at where she was in September compared to now, she’s made some huge strides. She gets better every week and she’s going to be a force in this league over the next few years.”

After tonight’s battle with the Mustangs, the Hawks will return home on the afternoon of Jan. 29 for a match-up with the Brock Badgers.