Women’s basketball are picking up right where they left off last season.
With wins against the McMaster Marauders and the Brock Badgers, the Gaels swept their weekend home series. They are now 3-0 on the season.
“The players are doing their thing — and they’re doing it quite well,” Queen’s head coach Dave Wilson said of his team’s strong start to the campaign.
Friday’s game saw the women start off slow against the nationally-ranked fifth Marauders, who opened the first frame on a 15-3 run and, at one point in the game, led by as much as 17.
“We came out very slow, very tentative,” Wilson said. He added that McMaster simply were “incredibly sharp [and] shot the ball exceptionally well.”
Down 51-36 at the half, Wilson tinkered with his rotation in hopes of keeping the visitors “off balance.” His team ripped off a 17-6 run in the third, and closed the Marauders’ lead to just five going into the fourth quarter.
The Gaels wouldn’t look back after that.
Sparked by an 18-1 run, the team scored 29 to the Marauders’ 13 points in the final quarter and secured themselves a comfortable 90-79 win.
“Eventually they got tired,” Wilson said of McMaster’s inability to hold their lead. “[T]heir legs were tired, their shooting percentage continued to drop from the first quarter [to] the fourth — and ours actually went up.”
Queen’s shot 83 per cent from the floor in the fourth, only missing two shots and hitting five from beyond the arc; McMaster, meanwhile, shot 20 per cent from the field in the closing frame, converting on a meager three-of-15 shots.
“For us, it was a matter of our bench being deep and our [ability] to continue running,” Wilson said, crediting his roster’s depth for tiring out opposing teams. “The depth that we have and the ability that we have to run is a big advantage.”
Queen’s carried every bit of momentum into Saturday’s game against Brock.
The team looked sound on both ends of the court, pushing the pace through the first half and holding a 39-15 lead.
“In the first couple minutes of the ball game, I thought we played really well,” Wilson said about his team’s quick start. “We talked about the way the game went [against McMaster] where we came out very slow from the gates … so we wanted to come out a little bit better.”
After sealing the game 80-39, Wilson again emphasized the wealth of talent on his roster — “[i]t’s a characteristic of our team,” he said.
“Finishing fourth in the country [last season], our highest-minute getter played [less] than 25-minutes,” Wilson. “And there wasn’t anyone else in the final-eight [teams] that had a player play less than 30.”
Wilson admitted to having the luxury of depth and capable players is at times difficult in terms of managing his rotations and lineups, but joked that it’s “a problem I would like to have.”
When asked if his current roster is similar to last year’s, Wilson — who is in his 36th year as the women’s head coach — said otherwise.
“This is a very, very different team from last year. We have different personnel, we have different ways of running our offense — but that’s not a bad thing,” the coach noted.
Despite sitting at 3-0, Wilson said the team remains in the process of finding its established identity.
“It’s gonna take some time to get everyone meshing together … But at the same time, we’re a very talented team,” he said.
The Gaels hit the road next weekend, playing away to Algoma on Nov. 10 where they’ll look to keep their hot streak rolling.
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