Women’s basketball takes thriller against Brock Badgers
It seemed like the Wilfrid Laurier women’s basketball team got themselves into a deep hole Wednesday night, as they trailed the Brock Badgers in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West quarterfinal by as much as much as eleven in the third quarter.
But a huge half-court shot to beat the buzzer by Lee Anna Osei and a dominant fourth-quarter performance by the Hawks set them on track for a 62-57 win and a trip to Western Saturday for the OUA West semifinal.
“There was like five seconds left and I went ‘man, I’ve got to get my hands on that ball,’” Osei said after the game. “And once the ball came into my hands, I just launched it and it went in.”
“We were definitely meant to win this game. We were coming off three hard losses and we just wanted to put all of our effort on the court tonight.”
Those three hard losses resulted in Laurier dropping from second in the OUA West to lose their bye in the first round, which meant a date with the Badgers.
And in a scrappy affair that had everything, the Hawks climbed out of a hole to advance to a date with the Mustangs.
Osei, with the help of fourth-year Kim Yeldon and a solid defensive effort by the Hawks, secured the victory in the final quarter.
“It was good because it was a playoff game, but I feel like we were pretty battle-tested the way our league’s been, especially the second term,” head coach Paul Falco said. “We’ve had some really tough competition, we’ve had some close games [and] been on the right side of some and the wrong side of some. So it was great to pull that one out and stay alive for hopefully a few more weeks.”
By the end of the first, the Hawks already trailed the Badgers 19-12. By outshooting Brock 16-9 in the second, Laurier managed to tie the game up after the slow start out of the gate.
However, a harsh third quarter would shift the momentum almost entirely over to the Badgers. Nicole Rosenkranz, playing in her final game as a Badger, would put up most of her 19 points from the night to help Brock spread the gap. At one point, Laurier trailed by 11 with little momentum.
Enter Osei, who grabbed the ball in the final seconds and sent the ball with all of her might toward the basket and made no mistake for the three points. Laurier sat four points behind the Badgers heading into a thrilling fourth quarter.
And with no lack of entertainment, the Hawks and Badgers began a scrappy fourth quarter. With seven minutes left, Laurier pulled within two to trail 52-50, before some help from Yeldon would tie and push the Hawks ahead with seconds left. Free throws from Osei and Samantha Jacobs would put the game out of reach with two seconds left and secure the victory.
Osei, Yeldon and Whitney Ellenor would put forth 12 points, while Jacobs added ten.
Laurier now travels down highway 401 to take on the Mustangs in the semifinal. Game time is Saturday at 1 p.m.
“It’s got to come from deep within,” Osei said. “We’ve beaten them before and they’ve beaten us and at the end of the day it’s going to come down to who wants it more.”