Game Dates & Times: Friday, February 16th – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 17th - 6:00 p.m.
Location: C.J Sanders Fieldhouse, Thunder Bay (at Lakehead)
Live Webcast: OUA.TV
With two games left in the regular season, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team has secured their playoff fate. Laurier will battle the Lakehead Thunderwolves in the first round of the OUA playoffs on Wednesday night and by chance, the two teams are scheduled to close out the regular season with two games against each other. In what will be a preview of the first round playoff matchup, the Hawks and Thunderwolves will have a chance to figure each other out with this weekend's doubleheader.
Throughout the two games this weekend, the focus will be on two of the premier players in the OUA.
One of these players is Laurier’s fifth-year guard NICOLE MORRISON. After becoming the school record- holder for the most points scored in a single season last weekend, the Hamilton native will be looking to accomplish an arguably even bigger feat against Lakehead. Now at 1358 points for her career, Morrison just needs 13 more to surpass Meghan McGrath for the most points ever recorded by a Golden Hawk women’s basketball player. This season, she is third in the OUA, averaging 19.3 points per game. She has also proved to be an effective passer, dishing out an average of 4.1 assists per game, good for the fourth best average in the conference.
On defence, the Hawks will be forced to figure out how to contain the conference’s leading scorer and rebounder, Leashja Grant (Nassau, Bahamas). Grant, a former starter at Texas Tech, is in her first year playing in Canada and appears to have easily adjusted to the game up North, averaging 22.4 points and 13.7 rebounds per game this season.
The two teams have played each other once in each of the previous two seasons, and the Hawks have dominated in those games, dismantling the Thunderwolves by a combined score of 36 points. However, this year’s version of the Thunder Bay school, led by Grant, presents a different challenge. The Thunderwolves possess a record of 14-8, the third best mark in the OUA West, and will enter Friday’s game on a two-game winning streak.
For Laurier, the purple and gold will be looking to get back into the win column. The Hawks have lost their last three games and sit in sixth-place in the OUA West with a record of 10-12.
Players to Watch
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (10-12)
#23 G Sarah Dillon (Welland, Ont.)
- The fifth-guard has knocked down the second most threes on the team this year, including hitting on two attempts from beyond the arc in Laurier’s previous game against Guelph
- The Welland native is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 5.8 points per game
#8 F Tayania Siwek-Smith (Oakville, Ont.)
- The second-year forward is tied for the team lead in blocks, recording 13 so far this season
- Smith will be relied upon heavily against Lakehead to guard Grant in the low-post
Lakehead Thunderwolves (14-8)
#22 F Bridget O’Reilly (Seaforth, Ont.)
- In support of Grant, O’Reilly provides another scoring option for the Thunderwolves down low
- The fourth-year forward is second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.4 points per game