Women’s basketball Lions looking for first win this weekend

girl with basketball

York Lions logoThe York University Lions women’s basketball team will aim to get into the win column for the first time this season when the squad welcomes the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and University of Waterloo Warriors to the Tait McKenzie Centre this weekend.

The Lions will first face the Golden Hawks on Friday evening and will return to home court the following night to take on the Warriors. Both games begin at 6pm and can also be seen live online at SSN Canada.

The Lions are looking to sweep the two squads from Waterloo, Ont., as they did last year on the road to star a three-game winning streak. Against the Warriors, the Lions turned a tremendous 23-8 advantage in the first quarter into a 63-49 win, and the following night they pulled out a 52-51 win over the Golden Hawks thanks to a strong second half that erased a 33-21 half-time deficit.

This year they’ve started 0-4 against some tough competition, most recently a 73-37 loss to the No. 1 and two-time defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champion University of Windsor Lancers last Saturday. In their other contest of this past weekend, the Lions put together a strong third quarter to pull within three of the Western University Mustangs after an early disadvantage, but the Mustangs ultimately pulled ahead in the fourth to win 69-53.

Rookie guard Cyrielle Recoura, an exchange student with professional experience in Europe, has quickly proven to be the team’s most dominant player. She earned York’s female athlete of the week award this week after putting up 35 points and 12 rebounds against Western and Windsor. She leads all Lions and is tied for 15th in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) scoring with 12.8 points per game and is third in the conference in steals with 3.0 per game.

Laurier began the season ranked No. 9 in the CIS and opened with a 68-64 win over the Queen’s University Gaels on the road. But since then, they’ve lost two in a row by a combined seven points – falling to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 58-54 and the Ryerson University Rams 72-69 – and slipped out of the national rankings this week.

The Golden Hawks have been led in scoring by a trio of third-year players averaging more than 10 points per game. Centre Whitney Ellenor is the leader with 12.3 points per game, while forwards Doreen Bonsu and Kimberley Yeldon are tied for second on the team with 10.7 each. The three of them are also the squad’s top three rebounders, with Bonsu the best in that category, averaging 9.0 per game for the third-best total in the conference.

Waterloo, which finished at the bottom of the OUA West standings last year with just one win in 22 games, is still looking for its first victory this year after an 0-3 star. The Warriors have been closer to earning a victory as the season has progressed, losing their opener to Queen’s by 22 points (92-70), to Ryerson by 10 points (67-57) and to Toronto by just three (55-52).

The Warriors have gotten most of their offensive production from forward Kate Kuntze and guard Marti Killeen. Kuntze leads all Warriors with 13.0 points per game, the 13th best total in the OUA, while Killeen is 19th with an average of 12.3 and is also the squad’s leading rebounder with an average of 5.7 per game.

The Lions close 2012 with road trips to Guelph, Ont., and Thunder Bay, Ont., next weekend and then will be off for the month of December. The team will first face the Univeristy of Gryphons on Friday, Nov. 30, followed by a game against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves on Saturday, Dec. 1. Both games will tip off at 6pm.