The Purple Reign has carved another notch into the rungs heading up the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) post-season ladder thanks to the Western Mustangs women’s basketball squad.
Playing host to the Laurier University Golden Hawks in OUA West quarter-final action at Alumni Hall on Wednesday night (Feb. 20), the Mustangs came out strong in the opening frame, jumping out to an early 14-9 lead.
Picking up the pace as the game wore on, both teams waged a seesaw battle that could have gone either way. In the end though, it was a strong fourth quarter by the hometown favourites that carried Western to victory.
“Our kids just hung in there,” said Mustangs head coach Brian Cheng. “You have to give credit to Laurier. They held us down, they made us work for every possession and we had a tough time trying to score against their defence,” said Cheng.
That was especially evident through the second and third quarters when Laurier managed to close the spread enough to take one-point, 41-40 lead into the final period.
Not wanting to single out any one player, Cheng said it was a total team effort that earned them the win. With a couple of his players under the weather heading into the contest, Cheng noted everyone “came in and stepped it up.”
Jenny Vaughan would set the pace on the scoreboard for Western with 12 points while Laura Dally and Annabel Hancock each tallied for 11 on the way to the Mustangs 58-54 win.
On Saturday (Feb. 23), the Mustangs head to Windsor where Western will have their work cut out for them when they take on the number-one ranked Windsor Lancers in the West division semifinal.
Unbeaten this year in OUA play, the Lancers are the reigning two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national champions.