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(Photo Credit: Kha Vo)
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PREVIEW: WBASK opens playoffs against Toronto
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, February 22 - 7 p.m.
Game Location: Athletic Complex Gym, Waterloo
Live Webcast: OUA.tv
Live Audiocast: RadioLaurier.com
Tickets: tickets.laurierathletics.com or available at the door

THE LOW DOWN
The seventh-seeded Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (13-7) open up their quest for the Critelli Cup on Wednesday night when they host the tenth-seeded Toronto Varsity Blues (7-12) in the first round of the OUA playoffs.

SEASON SERIES
- Laurier and Toronto met once during the regular season with the Hawks rallying to knock off the Varsity Blues 74-67 at the Athletic Complex
- in that contest, the purple and gold trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half before storming back, extending their win streak to four at the time

LAST PLAYOFF MEETING
- the Hawks and Blues last squared off in the playoffs back in 2010-11 when the two teams met in the OUA Bronze Medal game
- playing at home, Toronto used home court to their advantage as they picked up 62-54 victory on the strength on a big second-half performance

LAURIER KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Win the Back Court Battle
- the Golden Hawks are blessed with the highest-scoring back court duo in the conference this season in Kaitlyn Schenck (Kitchener, Ont.) and Nicole Morrison (Hamilton) who averaged 30.3 points per game
- however, Toronto is able to counter with a formidable duo of their own in Rahshida Atkinson (Scarborough, Ont.) and Keyira Parkes (Scarborough, Ont.) who average 23.1 points per game
- Laurier will need their veteran guards to be at their very best to get by Toronto on Wednesday

2. Control the Glass
- Laurier is in the bottom-half of the conference this year when it comes to rebounding, ranked 12th, while Toronto finished the year in sixth
- in their only meeting this season, the Varsity Blues were able to keep the game close thanks to their heavy edge on the boards, outrebounding Laurier 58-32
- with Toronto holding a height advantage in the front court, the Hawks will need to be strong in their box outs and rebound as a team in order to limit this advantage for Toronto

3. Get to the Line
- Laurier got to the free throw line more than any other team in the OUA this season, and used it to their advantage, finishing seventh in the conference in free throw shooting percentage
- facing a team that committed more fouls than any other team in the conference, look for the Hawks to get into the paint against the Blues and take advantage of their ability to hurt teams with their free throw shooting 

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (13-7)

G Irena Rynkiewicz (Mississauga, Ont.)
- while Schenck and Morrison will get most of the focus of Toronto’s defensive plan, the biggest key for Laurier tonight could be the play of Rynkiewicz
- playing key minutes against the opposing team bigs, Rynkiewicz’s ability to stretch the defence was evident all season as she led the conference in three-point shooting percentage at 40.7 percent

F Tayania Siwek-Smith (Oakville, Ont.)
- the rookie forward has slowly earned the trust of her head coach, PAUL FALCO, as the season has progressed, starting the team’s last seven games while averaging almost 20 minutes a night
- over that time, Siwek-Smith is averaging over two blocks per game while shooting nearly 38 percent from the floor

Toronto Varsity Blues (7-12)

G Rahshida Atkinson (Scarborough, Ont.)
- the Hawks will be keying in on shutting down the fourth year guard tonight after she poured in 23 points while shooting 53 percent from the field in their regular season meeting

F Charlotte Collyer (Colleyville, Texas)
- second year forward was a handful for Laurier in their regular season meeting, finishing with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, well above her season averages of 8.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game
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