When a team loses a handful of players from one year to the next, the words ‘rebuild’ and ‘retool’ are going to be thrown around, even more so when you’re entering a season with a new head coach.
This seasons Brock women’s basketball team fits the description of a rebuilding team, even 10 games into the regular season. The Badgers lost eight players from the 2015/2016 year (five who graduated and three who didn’t return), and added a new head coach, who was hired in mid-June. Only four recruits were brought in to fill the void of the subtractions and as the season has gone on, the Badgers have cut two players from their roster (Chrissy Sirignano, played in three games this season and Adonaelle Mousambote, who never saw any court time).
The Badgers are playing with a nine player roster, which has been dealing with injuries, especially during the 2016 portion of their schedule. Only three players have played in all 10 games, while everyone else has missed at least two.
That being said, for a team that has been adapting to a new coaching system, dealt with mid-season departures and injuries, the Badgers have a respectable 4-6 record. That record would place the women with the 11th seed in the OUA, if playoffs were to start today.
With all things considered, the Badgers game-to-game breakdown this season looks as followed:
Opened the season with an 18-point victory over the University of Toronto (who has since gone onto win six of their last nine)
Got blown out by (currently number one ranked) McMaster on the road
Bounced back to beat Guelph by 29
Followed by a near upset victory over the same McMaster team that beat them by 35
Then three tough losses to Carleton, Ottawa and Laurentian on the road
Found ways to win on the road against
Nipissing and Lakehead
Ended a long six-game road trip with a blowout loss to Lakehead
This team now gets to return home for six of their next seven games, as they’ve reached the halfway point of the season. Tough games still remain for the Badgers including matchups against nationally ranked Queen’s, Ryerson and Windsor. Laurier, although not ranked, is guaranteed to give the Badgers a physical battle as the Golden Hawks are 8-5 this season.
For a team that has struggled with injuries and lacks depth there’s never an easy win, but the Badgers could bounce back against the other teams struggling like York, Guelph and Algoma. This leaves Waterloo and Western as two of the Badgers remaining nine opponents, and both teams, like Brock, are hovering around the .500 mark as well.
Currently Brock has the eighth best offense in the league as they average 67.3 points per game 38.7 per cent shooting, which ranks seventh among the OUA. This is rather impressive as the Badgers only made 25.9 per cent of their three pointers.
Their wins against Nipissing and Lakehead saw much better performances from deep, as they shot 47.8 per cent over the course of those two games. A major contributor to the success has been third-year guard Melissa Tatti, who’s shooting a career-low percentage from three. In her rookie season she was a 34.4 per cent shooter, but dropped off last year to 29.4 per cent. This season Tatti is shooting 27.1 per cent, while shooting almost two less threes per game.
In the two wins, the Ancaster, Ontario native shot five for seven from behind the line. She would have season-highs in points in both games with 15 and 23. Baelie Campbell and Jessica Morris also stepped up in the two-wins.
Brock’s main leader offensively has been fourth-year forward Kira Cornelissen, who has seen her role expand this season. Cornelissen is second in the OUA in scoring (20.6 points per game), third in rebounding (10.6) and second in blocks (1.7).
Bridget Atkinson, who transferred from Guelph to Brock this season, has brought great ball handling, leadership and composure to the team. Atkinson’s providing 12.8 points per game and 5.1 rebounds.
The Badgers are as healthy as they can be in 2017, as all nine players have not missed a game in quite some time. So with the bad luck behind them, their longest road trip of the season over and now returning home, the Badgers are in shape to make a run for a possible first-round playoff game.