Defending home court

Queen's looking to build off of undefeated tournament

Emily Hazlett (right) was awarded MVP of the Tindall Invitational Tournament.
Emily Hazlett (right) was awarded MVP of the Tindall Invitational Tournament.
Forward Maddie Morris (#23) battles for the ball against the Carleton Ravens.
Forward Maddie Morris (#23) battles for the ball against the Carleton Ravens.
Coming off an OUA Final Four finish last season, women’s basketball is doing their best to prove that the ARC will be a tough court to play on this season.
Fourth-year guard Emily Hazlett earned MVP honours on this past weekend’s Tindall Invitational Tournament. The Gaels hosted and swept the competition, winning all three games against UQAM, Memorial University and Carleton.
Though the results don’t matter to their regular season, Sunday’s game against Carleton was a prime example of the level of play the Gaels hope to replicate this season, coming out with an 81-63 win to cap off the weekend.
“We’ve always had a rivalry there… That brings the intensity for sure,” Hazlett said.
The win against Carleton didn’t come without its share of hardship. The Gaels had a 52-28 lead going into the half. But coming back out and starting the third, things weren’t going their way. Their lead was pushed to just nine points entering the fourth quarter.
“We stopped hitting the shots that we were hitting in the first half,” Hazlett said about the third quarter slide. “We sat back a little bit, and kind of let them crawl back in and have a chance of beating us. We didn’t stop it right away, like we should have.”
The Gaels edged UQAM out 69-63 in Friday night’s contest, but they ran away with it  against Memorial 94-62.
Head coach Dave Wilson sais the Gaels owed it to themselves to have a strong performance in Kingston.
“Anytime we play on our home court, we take that personally,” Wilson said.
While Sunday’s contest was the Gaels’  third victory in as many days, Wilson said the third quarter resulted in some issues for his side.
“The real challenge is to stay mentally sharp, and we weren’t able to do that,” he said.
Coach Wilson was pleased with his team’s ability to bring back the intensity towards the end of the quarter, though he believes the way they came back is unsustainable heading into the regular season.
“We got run-outs and we got a couple of quick scores that just boosted our morale,” he said. “But we don’t want to have to rely on hitting shots to boost our morale. We’d much prefer that to come from our defence, because we can always work hard on defence.”
The game was more or less over when Gael Andrea Priamo was subbed in halfway through the fourth. She set a hard screen (which prompted a response from Carleton’s bench) that enabled Wright to make a shot and a free throw, putting the Gaels ahead by 11 to start a late run.
And while the three victories on the weekend were to be celebrated, the importance of the weekend for the Gaels has more to do with the process rather than the end result. 
Wilson says the preseason is essential in testing out theories of play, figuring out the best way to divulge the recipe for success and figuring out what to improve upon. 
“That’s what these games are about: testing out a few things here, running people in, testing out a few line ups,” he said. “Things like that, just to see what we can do. We’ve got three more exhibition games coming up on the road, and that will help us transition into league-play.” 

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