High hopes for women’s hoops

Wilson returns for 25th season as head coach

After a second-place finish in the OUA East Division last season, the Queen’s women’s basketball team returns with a more aggressive approach and high expectations.

The departure of Claire Meadows, one of the top players in the history of the program, will be difficult to overcome. But Coach Dave Wilson, who assumes his 25th season at the helm, is confident his returning leaders can fill the void.

“We have great leadership in [co-captains] Jess Selinger and Sarah Barnes,” Wilson said. “They are people that inspire their teammates to overcome obstacles and pain thresholds, to become their best.”

Barnes, one of many players who have stayed in Kingston over the summer to stay in top shape, expects great things from her teammates.

“We have a very big gap to fill with the loss of [Meadows], but there are a lot of us here for the summer working out and trying to improve our game. We are all feeling pretty positive and looking forward to the opportunity

to step up.”

Along with established leaders and returning players set to assume larger roles on the team, such as top 2006-07 rookie Erin Skippon, Wilson has added three new recruits over the summer.

The rookies this year will be Alaina Porter, a 5’8” wing player from Burlington, Brittany Moore, a 5’6” point guard from south of Hamilton, and Christine Wallace, a 6’0” wing player from south of Ottawa.

Moore, who won a three-point contest at a one-day Queen’s training camp in December, is eager to play for the Gaels.

“I am really excited about joining the Golden Gael basketball team under the leadership of a great coaching staff,” she said in an e-mail interview.

According to Wilson, the new players will allow for a slight change in the team’s style.

“The addition of the three rookies will improve the team’s overall athleticism and speed,” he said. “I see us becoming more aggressive defensively and that should encourage us into a more transition-oriented game.”

To Queen’s basketball fans, Wilson’s words are encouraging. The Gaels, who delivered an exciting and competitive performance last season, appear to be adopting a more explosive style of game.

Wilson said he expects the same strengths that buoyed his team’s success last year to apply in the forthcoming season.

“The backbone of our success last season was our knowledge and decision-making as a team. Certainly that will continue to be our strength.” The summer training sessions will help the team in a season when there will likely be some turnover in the East division. York University, which defeated Queen’s en route to the OUA championship last season, is graduating all but one of its starting five, leaving the potential for many contending teams to succeed. The Gaels will vie with Laurentian University, University of Toronto and a host of other teams for the East’s top spot.

In the west, McMaster University, which was ranked second in the country near the end of last season, emerges as the clear favourite once again. If Queen’s does come out on top in the East, it will likely have to set its sights on McMaster.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.