Nicole Morrison became Laurier's all-time leading scorer on Friday night as she had 15 points in the loss to Lakehead (Credit: Eva Ou)
Laurier: 58 LAKEHEAD: 60
THUNDER BAY, Ont. (February 17, 2018) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team were afforded a unique opportunity this weekend; a pair of games to end the regular season against the Lakehead Thunderwolves, a team the Hawks have already been confirmed to play in the first round of the OUA Playoffs next Wednesday. The feeling out process began Friday night at the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse in Thunder Bay, with the purple and gold dramatically forcing overtime before ultimately succumbing by a score of 60-58 in the extra period.
The contest was about as gritty as they come. Neither team could find any consistency shooting the basketball, with the Hawks (10-13) and T’Wolves (15-8) each shooting under 30 percent from the field on the night. It was quickly apparent that defence would be the name of the game.
After a first quarter which only saw the purple and gold score six points, Irena Rynkiewicz
(Mississauga, Ont.) and Lauren Jamieson
(Oakville, Ont.) began to take charge on offence for Laurier. Rynkiewicz buried a deep triple late in the half to give the Hawks a 19-18 lead at recess, while Jamieson made a sluggish Lakehead team pay early in the second half, burying back-to-back threes.
Jamieson would wind up finishing the game 3-of-5 from beyond the arc Friday.
One player who was not having trouble scoring was OUA leading scorer and rebounder Leashja Grant (Nassau, BHS), who almost single-handedly carried the Thunderwolves through the game with 27 points and 16 rebounds, setting the U SPORTS single-season rebounding record in the process.
With Grant staking Lakehead to a seven-point lead with two minutes to play, the odds were not great for the Hawks, but they were not ready to roll over just yet. Forcing several turnovers from the T’Wolves, the purple and gold were able to cut that lead down to two. On their final possession, NICOLE MORRISON
(Hamilton, Ont.) was able to kick it out to Maya Day
(Kitchener, Ont.), who drilled the jumper from the wing to send it to overtime.
Morrison, sitting 13 points shy of breaking the Laurier women’s basketball all-time career scoring record coming in, was only able to score 10 in regulation. However, one of her seven assists on the night bought her five more minutes in overtime, and she made them count. With her three-pointer late in the extra frame, she was able to set the new school record at 1373 career points, surpassing Meghan McGrath’s previous mark of 1371.
Unfortunately, it was not quite enough to pull out the win Friday, as the Hawks fell in the dying seconds, missing a half-court heave at the buzzer.
It won’t be the last time these two teams lock up, doing battle once more tomorrow night before they clash in postseason action on Wednesday.
Tip goes at 6:00 p.m. Saturday and can be seen on OUA.tv