Women’s basketball hangs on to second place

(Photo by Kha Vo)

(Photo by Kha Vo)

In the second game of a double header between the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team and the Lakehead Thunderwolves, the Golden Hawks were unable to sweep the weekend series and were handed their worst loss of the season, 74-47.

After a ten-point win Friday, defeating Lakehead 75-65, the Hawks got off to an extremely slow start Saturday night and were unable to get back into the game after struggling immensely and being outscored 32-13 in the first half.

“Lakehead came out with more desperation and intensity than we did. They’re trying to lock up a playoff spot and I thought we really struggled at both ends of the floor — especially with our finishing,” head coach Paul Falco.

With only two games left in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) regular season schedule, Lakehead is fighting for a position in the playoffs, while the Golden Hawks are trying to secure home court advantage as the second seed in the OUA West.

As of Monday, Laurier clinched a first-round home game, but their opponent will not be decided until the final games finish.

After the game, Paul Falco was asked how important the final two games are for the Golden Hawks.

“Obviously they’re important; every game has been important in such a tight league, very competitive league, one through six and we’re going to approach this week as we have the rest of them,” he said.

“[We’re going to] take them one game at a time and come and try to play our best basketball that we have played so far this year.”

After being outscored 17-9 in the first quarter Saturday, Laurier continued to struggle in the second only scoring four points and went into the half down by 19.

Lakehead’s leading scorer and second-highest OUA scorer Jylisa Williams outscored the entire Laurier team in the first half enroute to an amazing 21 points and 21 rebounds in yet another stellar performance.

Coach Falco after the game praised Williams’ performance.

“Williams had a whale of a ball game and we weren’t able to keep her off the glass and she finished better than she did the first night.”

Williams finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds Friday night.

The Hawks struggled to get into the lane throughout the game and the Lakehead forwards were able to box out and grab 50 rebounds to Laurier’s 32.

Although Laurier scored only 13 points in the first half, they came out in the second half and put up 20 third-quarter points only to slow down again in the fourth and score only 14.

“I think offensively we had to trust our shots a little more and be confident in our takes and stick with it when we had good looks,” Falco said.

“We needed to get a little closer to the hoop, we were taking a lot of threes and they weren’t falling for us so we were looking to get higher percentage shots.”

It was also Laurier’s last home game of the season before heading into playoffs, so four seniors were honoured for their final regular season home game.

Kimberley Yeldon, Bree Chaput, Laura Doyle and Doreen Bonsu will all be graduating in April.

“It was emotional, you know, it was great to see some of the alumni in the crowd and friends and family that have supported us these past four years,” fourth-year Bonsu said.

With the weekend split, Laurier drops to 15-5 and just two points ahead of Western for second place in the OUA West division.

The Hawks will look to rebound from their loss on Wednesday when they take on McMaster and then with their last game of the regular season on Saturday against Western. Laurier’s game against the Mustangs will be pivotal for placing in the OUA West and could potentially determine who finishes second and third.

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