The York University Lions women’s basketball team will aim for its first victory of the young 2012-13 season this weekend when it welcomes Western and Windsor to the Tait McKenzie Centre for its first pair of home games.
The Lions will first take on the Mustangs on Friday evening (Nov. 16), and will hit the court again on Saturday (Nov. 17) against the No. 1 nationally-ranked Windsor Lancers. Both games will begin at 6pm and can be seen live online at SSN Canada.
The Lions enter their home-opening weekend looking for their first victory after season-opening losses to McMaster and Brock on the road. The Lions played tight with the Marauders for three of the game’s four quarters, but a tough second frame in which they were outscored 19-6 did them in and they fell 59-47.
The same situation played out the following night against the Badgers, where the Lions scored just three points in the second frame while allowing 15 to fall behind by a margin they could not close in a 63-46 loss.
On Friday night, the Lions are looking to do what they accomplished last year, when they went into Alumni Hall on the first night of the season and knocked off the Mustangs by 10 points in a 76-66 victory. That win was one of four against the West Division and helped the Lions get into the playoffs in the sixth and final spot.
That result was thanks in large part to then-rookie forward Samantha Ernest, who made a big splash in her debut with the Lions with 20 points and eight rebounds. She missed the early part of training camp while recovering from an injury but played in both games to start the year and is averaging 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds.
The squad’s leading scorer after opening weekend is Courtney Osborne, who is averaging 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. She put up a double-double against the Marauders with 17 points and 12 rebounds, representing her best game with the Lions.
This year’s Mustangs team is off to a 1-1 start, with a season-opening win over Ottawa by two points and a loss to the No. 4 Ravens. In their first game the Mustangs went toe-to-toe with the Gee-Gees, taking a slim two-point lead into the final frame and then holding firm for the 74-72 victory. They were more overmatched against the fourth-ranked team in the country, losing 69-48 after being outscored in three of the four quarters and putting up just four points in the third.
Jenny Vaughan, an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) first-team all-star last year, had a monster opening weekend with 47 points in two games and leads the OUA with 23.5 points per game. Also impressive last week was Laura Dally with an average of 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds.
The Lancers should prove to be one of the toughest tests the Lions face all season. Windsor has been the pre-eminent team in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) over the last few seasons, winning back-to-back CIS championships in 2011 and 2012 under the direction of standout head coach Chantal Vallee while losing just four regular-season games in the last two years.
They come into the weekend after another solid start that saw them win their first two games on home court, including a solid five-point win, 58-53, over the No. 4 Carleton Ravens in the opener. The Lancers also dominated Ottawa in their second game, winning 71-47 while outscoring the Gee-Gees in all four quarters and holding them to 14 points or fewer in each frame.
The Lancers have a roster made up of several talented players, most notably Jessica Clemencon (St. Rambert, France) and Miah-Marie Langlois. Clemencon was the CIS player of the year in 2011 and went on to win the CIS athlete of the year award that same season. She is currently leading the Lancers in scoring with 15.5 points per game and is also the top rebounder with an average of 7.0 per game.
Langlois has earned the CIS tournament MVP award in each of the last two seasons and was also the CIS defensive player of the year last year. Through two games, she is fourth in team scoring with 7.5 points per game and leads the team in assists and steals.
The Lions will be back at home again next weekend for their final games at the Tait McKenzie Centre before the December break. They will host the No. 9 Laurier Golden Hawks on Friday, Nov. 23 and the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, Nov. 24. Both games will begin at 6pm.