Women’s basketball season preview with second-year guard Cassidy Hirtle
It will be 605 days since the last time the women’s varsity basketball team played a basketball game. The Golden Hawks were last on the court when they played Queens University in the first round of the OUA playoffs as Laurier was defeated 78-50.
With a new season on the horizon and a completely new roster filled with fresh talent, there is much for the Golden Hawks to be excited about for this coming season. With high hopes end expectations for them to win, not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well.
“The energy level has been high at practice; everyone is excited to be back… I missed being around my teammates in practice and we’re all excited for the season to start,” Cassidy Hirtle, a second-year guard said about the anticipation to make her Golden Hawk debut when the preseason starts on Oct. 16.
Without there being a season last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this season will be incredibly different than previous years due to the number of new players being added to the roster and the lack of on-court competition last season.
“There are nine new girls, including the first years that haven’t played before,” Hirtle said.
Teams can only carry 12 players throughout the season and the Golden Hawks will only have three girls returning to the team from the previous season. This might seem tough for some teams, but Hirtle is not concerned about it as they have all collectively been working together as a team.
“We’ve been really working together, running a fast-paced game both on offence and defense, while also playing more aggressively on defense which is something that Coach [Falco] has been implementing at practice.”
Having an aggressive defense is nothing new in coach Paul Falco’s system. In the 2019-2020 season the Golden Hawks ranked in the top 8 in points against, only letting teams score 64.5 points per game.
Crashing the glass is also something that seems to be a focal point in the Laurier gameplan. In their last season Laurier ranked 10th amongst all teams in the OUA averaging 27.2 rebounds per game.
Having a preseason is great, giving the team some time to mesh together before the games start to count. They’ll have time to warm up for the season and find their groove back after not playing for an entire season. They’ll have four preseason games starting in October, against Laurentian, York, Ontario Tech, and the University of Toronto.
“It is a big thing for us since there is a big group of us that have not played all together at a high pace before, getting used to playing with each other, working together to accomplish our goals this season,” Hirtle said about the impact the preseason will have on the team.
Like previous years, the eastern and western conferences will stay the same, however, the schedule for the Golden Hawks come the regular season will be a little different than it has been in previous years.
This season the Golden Hawks will be playing two consecutive games against the same school. They start on the road against Brock University on November 3rd and then come back to Waterloo for another game against the Badgers three days later. The OUA made these regional schedules to limit travel and potential issues as a result of the pandemic.
Hirtle is ready for the regular season and commented on how she thinks it will be when they all play their first regular season game.
“It’s going to be really exciting getting on the court with everyone. Practice is one thing, but a game is a lot more intense, higher energy. We all love to compete and play together at a high level,” she said.
With there being a completely new roster, the team will surely have some growing pains but that is nothing that they cannot overcome.
“We’re definitely young and we’re willing to learn and grow together as a group…One of our strengths is that we can grow as a group together not just this year, but down the road in the future as well.”
Having a team with a young core, faced paced offensive, aggressive defense, and team chemistry this could be the year that the Hawks strive for greatness and win the last game of the season.