The Gaels’ rocky start to the season continued with split results at the ARC last weekend.
Queen’s dropped the Waterloo Warriors 67-52 in their home opener last Friday night, before falling to the Laurier Golden Hawks 56-53 on Saturday.
After last season’s run to the OUA final, early-season struggles are a surprising result for the Gaels (1-2).
Their early inconsistency is owed to their lack of confidence on the offensive end, according to head coach Dave Wilson.
“We’re just really mentally struggling here with the finishing,” Wilson said. “The confidence is gone a little bit and it’s one of those things that has snowballed against us.”
With wing Gemma Bullard sidelined with a severe concussion she suffered in a pre-season game, post Andrea Priamo started in her place. The second-year struggled over the weekend, shooting just 11 per cent from the floor on 18 field goal attempts.
In their home opener against the Warriors (1-3), the Gaels were shaky on both offence and defence.
They were able to get to the free throw line 29 times, but couldn’t punish the Warriors effectively, converting on just 16 of their charity attempts.
The Warriors made a push at the end of the third quarter, closing in within six points. However, the Gaels pulled away with a 14-2 run to begin the fourth.
Wilson said his team will be particularly effective in the fourth quarter this season, due in part to their improved depth.
“We’re pretty comfortable going pretty deep into our lineup and that allows us to outrun teams,” he said.
Wing Jenny Wright looked to be in mid-season form, dropping 20 points on both her opponents over the weekend.
While they pulled off the win, the Gaels struggled to connect on their chances, sinking only 33.8 per cent of their shots against the Warriors.
The poor shooting carried over the next night against the Golden Hawks (3-1), where Queen’s shot 23.6 per cent in the game.
The Gaels took an early lead against Laurier — establishing a seven-point advantage midway through the opening quarter — but couldn’t sustain it.
The Golden Hawks joined Queen’s at last year’s CIS tournament, and the two teams were evenly matched throughout Saturday’s contest. Laurier’s advantage in the game never rose above four.
Gaels guard and captain Liz Boag scored seven points on 2-12 shooting, adding five rebounds against Laurier.
“I think we played well tonight, but we just couldn’t finish. It’s just something we’re fighting through right now,” Boag said. “But I’m confident we’ll overcome it.”
The Gaels will look to get back on track this weekend when they travel to face the Guelph Gryphons (3-1) and the Brock Badgers (1-3). Queen’s won their sole meetings with both teams last season.
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