To the average fan, the women’s basketball team is in a very good place. Sitting at an 8-1 record and fighting with Carleton for the OUA’s top spot, the Gaels have continued their winning ways since finishing fourth at the 2016 U Sports championships last season.
Yet, despite filling up the win column in their first nine games, head coach Dave Wilson is still trying to work out the kinks in a team that’s still trying to hit its stride.
“We’re still finding ourselves, to be honest. This is the longest I’ve ever gone where we’re still trying to sort things out with our team in my coaching career,” Wilson said in his 37th season as head coach of the Gaels.
On Wednesday morning, the Gaels won their third straight game against the York Lions 71-60 in front of 1,800 local Kingston students. The small winning streak has come in response to a disappointing loss to Laurier Golden Hawks nearly two weeks ago.
The start of their game against York saw the Gaels fall into a deficit early — a trend that has troubled the team for much of the season. Despite this, the Gaels ability to dig themselves out of holes has provided Wilson with some comfort in his team’s mental strength.
“The positive with [falling behind early] is that we don’t panic, which is a very important thing that the players understand,” he said. “They’re frustrated and angry with things they’re not doing well but they’re not ever considering that they can’t turn it around.”
This year, Wilson said he’s still searching for the right defensive system. Up until this point, he said the team has struggled with his constant switch in outlook.
“We need to be focused on what it is exactly we’re doing right now because we just changed from what we were doing to something else and trying to get everyone to focus on that new skill,” Wilson said.
On top of this, the Gaels are still adjusting to having some new faces on the team.
This list includes dual sport athlete Sophie De Goede. De Goede, who was recently named OUA rugby’s Rookie of the Year, recently returned from the rugby U Sports championships and has gradually become more comfortable with Wilson’s style of basketball. On Wednesday, she scored 11 points, third best on the team against York.
“We’re still integrating her into the system…it’s going well though,” Wilson said.
Even though the puzzle that’s the women’s basketball season is far from completion, Wilson said the team morale is as strong as it has ever been.
“They’ve always recognized what they’re capable of doing as opposed to what they may be doing…the chemistry of the team has been very solid and they’re very supportive of each other,” Wilson said.
The Gaels’ first half of the season will officially come to a close on Saturday when they take on the Guelph Gryphons. Looking to finish this portion of the season on a strong note, Wilson hopes his team will continue to learn from every game they play.
“One of our goals, very significantly, is we have to learn by winning, not learn by losing,” Wilson said. “They would much prefer to win.”
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