PREVIEW: WBASK hoping momentum carries over
Currently possessing an 8-8 record, this week's games against No. 6 McMaster and Waterloo are imperative for Laurier's playoff aspirations

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - Posted by Matthew Strapp

Game Dates & Times: Wednesday, January 24 – 11:00 a.m. (vs. McMaster) and Friday, January 26 - 6:00 p.m. (at Waterloo)
Game Locations: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex (vs McMaster) and University of Waterloo, Physical Athletics Complex (at Waterloo)
Live Webcast: OUA.TV
Tickets: vs. McMaster

The Low Down
Coming off a dominant weekend in which they swept the Algoma Thunderbirds in back-to-back games, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team will be in for a tougher challenge this week. On Wednesday, the Hawks will host the No. 6 McMaster Marauders at the Kitchener Auditorium in a rematch of an 81-59 Marauder victory less than two weeks ago. Then, on Friday, the Hawks will take the short trip down University Avenue for another rivalry matchup against the Waterloo Warriors.  With an 8-8 record on the season, the Hawks are currently tied with the Western Mustangs and only two points ahead of Guelph for the fourth-seed in the OUA West standings. This week’s games could provide some clarity as to who will end up finishing in the fourth spot, and as such, be rewarded with a first-round playoff home game. 

For McMaster, they should be prepared to not only deal with the Hawks team, but also a raucous Laurier crowd. Over 1300 elementary school students from the Waterloo Region are expected to be in attendance, offering the purple and gold a unique home-court advantage.  Come tip-off, the Hawks will be looking to overcome their recent struggles against the Hamilton school. The Hawks last beat the Marauders in 2013, having fallen short in their last three matchups, most recently the defeat on January 13th. There is no doubt that that McMaster presents a difficult challenge as the Marauders are 12-4 on the season, sit in second-place in the OUA West and have won six games in a row. 

Friday night’s game at Waterloo might feel like another home-game for Laurier. In light of flooding issues at the Athletic Complex, the Hawks were forced to play their scheduled home games against Algoma this previous weekend at another facility. The facility turned out to be the Physical Athletic Complex at the University of Waterloo, with the games being graciously hosted by the Warriors. Unfortunately for the Warriors, do not expect the Hawks to show their appreciation on the court. Laurier has won the last eighteen meetings between the two schools, with Waterloo not tallying a victory since 2008. The most recent Laurier victory was a 67-50 win earlier this season on December 1, 2017. The Warriors also currently sport the worst record in the OUA at 1-15.

Need to Know
- Laurier’s women’s basketball team last hosted a school-day game two years ago when they defeated Waterloo 72-53
- The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium (The AUD) typically serves as the host location for hockey and basketball games, being home to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans of the NBL
- The Hawks have already won the inaugural multi-sport Battle of Waterloo series between Laurier and Waterloo. It was clinched on January 6th when the men's hockey team won 3-2, and Laurier currently leads the season-long series with eight wins, four losses and four ties against the Warriors

Players to Watch
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (8-8)

#5 G Nicole Morrison (Hamilton, Ont.)
- The fifth-year guard ranks second in the league in scoring, averaging 20.7 points per game
- Despite only playing in 24 minutes against Algoma on Saturday, Laurier’s third all-time leading scorer produced 31 points on 12-25 shooting

#12 G Brianna Iannazzo (Thornhill, Ont.)
- Coming off the bench against Algoma, the second-year guard earned her second-highest scoring output of the season by picking up 14 points
- Iannazzo has had good games against both Waterloo and McMaster this season, scoring eight points against the Warriors and six against McMaster 

McMaster Marauders (12-4)

#13 G Linnaea Harper (Newmarket, Ont.)
- The third-year guard was perfect from beyond the arc in the previous matchup against the Hawks, going 4-4 from distance and picking up 22 points overall
- Shooting at 42.9 percent from three-point range on the year, the Newmarket native is statistically the third-best long-range shooter in the OUA

Waterloo Warriors (1-15)

# 7 F Ann Stewart (Yellowknife, N.W.T.)
- The fourth-year forward was the leading scorer for the Warriors in December against the Hawks when scored 16 points on 7-15 shooting
- Standing tall at 6-1, Stewart is relied upon for rebounding and averages 3.3 boards per game

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