Women’s basketball drop both weekend games

Two losses after winning season-opener sends Gaels back to the drawing board

The women's basketball team started their season with a win over Royal Military College last weekend, but weren’t as fortunate this weekend. They lost two games against the Lakehead Thunderwolves and the McMaster Marauders.

On Friday, the Gaels played host to the Thunderwolves, falling 66-54.

Head coach Dave Wilson said he was mystified at his team's lacklustre performance.

"Our inability to take care of the basketball just baffles me," he said. "That we could have that many turnovers with that kind of execution after spending two months here trying to prepare."

In the second quarter, Lakehead point guard Tasia McKenna had an easy time breaking down the Queen's defence en route to an 18-point game.

Guard Brittany Moore led the Gaels with 18 points, followed by wing Katie Guthrie's 13 points and post Erin Skippon's 10 points. Skippons nine rebounds landed her one shy of a double-double.

Wilson said the team experienced some nervousness.

"I think there are some jitters with being in a league game situation," he said. "The players are a little anxious about that, but that's unacceptable at this point, especially from our veterans."

He said he felt the team’s faltering play is due to a shaky team dynamic.

"There's a huge risk of this being a problem when you've got so many young players who, if veterans falter at all, may or may not be able to step in," he said. "To ask them to shoulder that burden is a pretty tall order. I know this team is capable of considerably more than they showed, but it's a process to figure out whether they're ready to execute what they know. Only time will tell."

On Saturday, the Gaels hosted McMaster, losing 79-73 in a tightly contested game.

The Gaels started strong, pulling ahead 32-23 in the second quarter, before finishing the half with a 36-31 advantage.

20 of those points belonged to Guthrie, as part of her season-high 30-point effort. Moore added another 24 points.

"There was no question, Katie Guthrie had an incredible game," Wilson said. "She always brings energy. She's a very high energy player."

In the third quarter, McMaster began to claw back into the game, going into the final quarter with a one-point edge.

Wilson said he was more satisfied with his team's performance against McMaster on Saturday night.

"I thought we did a better job of taking care of the basketball today," he said. "While we showed 20 turnovers on the score sheet, they were different types of turnovers."

The game fell out of the Gaels' grasp when fourth-year post Jill Wheat fouled a McMaster player, allowing the Marauders to complete a three-point play to go up 69-66 with less than two minutes to play.

The last minutes of play were full of stoppages, and the Marauders were able to hold on to their edge, finishing the game with the 79-73 win.

Guthrie said the Gaels had many reasons to be proud of their game.

"We played with heart the whole game," she said. "To play that kind of game, you can't hang your head. We played as a team, and we played tough, and we played with intensity for the majority of the game."

Guthrie said the team’s learning from their mistakes.

"We were exhausted at the end of the game, and that's how it should be," she said. "We are getting better, and fixing what we need to fix. Our turnovers are getting better, and we're making better decisions on the court. That's not something that you draw on a whiteboard. That's not something you practice. That comes from the team."

Wilson said the road ahead will be tough, but they will cope.

"Every game for us is going to be a battle," he said. "There is no easy team in the league here that we'll be able to dominate. You'll see a lot of different styles from the teams in the West."

The Gaels head to Waterloo next weekend to take on the Waterloo Warriors and Laurier Golden Hawks.

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