WINDSOR, Ont. - The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks stunned the no. three nationally ranked Western Mustangs with a come-from-behind 76-74 victory in the OUA West women's basketball semifinal. Christa Mancino of Port Colborne, Ont. scored 18 points, including a clutch free-throw with eight seconds left to seal the victory.
"It felt pretty great as they beat us twice in the regular season," said Mancino following the game. "But they were both close games and we knew we were going to come back and give them a good fight today."
After falling behind early in the first quarter 20-14, but rallying back in the second the Golden Hawks were only two points behind the Mustangs at the break. The third quarter was the purple and gold's worst as they fell behind by 14 with three and half minutes left in the frame. They battled back to close the lead to ten by the end of the third.
It was the fourth quarter where the Golden Hawks really buckled down and played great defence. They outscored their opponents 28-18 and had a five point lead with less than a minute left in the game. The Mustangs Beckie Williams came down the floor and drained a three to cut the lead to two with 48 seconds left. Rebecca Moss then created a turnover and was fouled in the paint. She missed her first free throw and made her second to cut the Hawks lead to one with 26 seconds remaining. Laurier then took the ball up the court and Christa Mancino drove the basket and was fouled. She missed her first free throw and then drained her second with nine seconds left on the clock. Western got the ball into Laurier's zone and Matteke Hutzler made a shot, but it didn't drop as time expired.
The Golden Hawks shot 57.1% in the second half, while Western was 56.3% from the floor.
"One of our goals this year was to get to regionals and with this win we've done that," said head coach PAUL FALCO.
After Mancino, Laurier was led by Renata Adamczyk of Greensville, Ont. who had 17 points and five rebounds. Mallory Kohlmeier (Sarnia, Ont.) posted 14 points and Megan Grant (Thunder Bay, Ont.) had 10 and eight boards. Point guard Felicia Mazerolle was a force for the Hawks and chipped in eight points, four rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes of play.
For the Mustangs, Matteke Hutzler led the way with a 23 point effort and eight rebounds. Three other Western players hit double digits including Katelyn Leddy with 13, Laura Dally who had 12 and Jenny Vaughan who posted 11.
Laurier now advances to the OUA West final to take on the host Windsor Lancers on Sunday, February 27th at 4 p.m. Western will play Lakehead at 2 p.m. to determine the third place team from the OUA West. Both matches will be broadcast live on SSN Canada.