Brock wants to play for the Critelli Cup this year, but a loss on Wednesday to Guelph will all but kill that dream. With seven games left after they have their midweek matchup with the Gryphons, a loss would put them three games back with Guelph holding the tiebreaker. Three of those seven games would also come against teams tied for first place in the Western Conference, with both Windsor and Lakehead sitting at 12-4. They would need to topple some giants, which they had wished to do this past Saturday at home in the Bob Davis Gym. However, their slingshot was just not strong enough to trip up the goliath that is the Windsor Lancers, as they fell by a final score of 68-52.
There was very strong defense from both teams to start the game with neither able to notch a point until there were only five minutes left in the first quarter. Brock’s 2-3 defensive zone was very effective at blocking Windsor’s dribble penetration. Moreover, quick closeouts on three-point shooters led to an inefficient first quarter for Windsor. Brock took advantage of abhorrent shooting to jump out to a 13-6 lead after one quarter.
However, in the second quarter Windsor instituted a full court press and Brock was left floundering. In the rare cases they would escape the press, they would miss the open look. More often than not, a combination of standstill Badgers and inaccurate passing would lead to fast breaks and in turn, open looks from three-point range for a Lancer team that could not get the lid off the basket.
Windsor was unable to find their stroke in the first half, going three-for-20 from three-point range, with the majority of those 20 shots being uncontested. Brock took advantage of Windsors misfires with their aggressive rebounding, highlighted by Courtney MacPherson who had 9 rebounds in the first half (3 offensive) alone, leading the game going into the break. The bruising style and fearless drives by Brooke Murdoch and freshman Lauren Zonneveld left the referees little choice but to blow the whistle. While Brock shot only 66% for the first half from the charity stripe, they converted their 12 attempts to eight points, keeping the deficit to only four, with a halftime score of Windsor leading 23-19.
Brock also started to look fatigued as the first half wound down, probably because of coach Ashley MacSporran’s tight rotation. In the third quarter, when the Badger faithful was still spirited in “bringing the storm” (an attempt to whiteout the gym with white t-shirts) was when Windsor ran away with the game and Brock’s weaknesses in the second quarter was magnified, compounded with the rotation’s fatigue.
Without arguably her two best players, her leading scorer in Kristin Gallant (concussion) and her best ball handler in Ana Caldeira Rua (right calf), MacSporran relied heavily on her starting five, with them playing a combined 184 out of 200 minutes in the game. Furthermore, she only played six players in total, with freshman Ginny Cape the lone bench player to earn the trust of her coach.
“The injury bug hit us…and we’re down to six. I can’t ask for more from this team. We have some girls returning this week so that will help. We’re still so young, we’re taking it game by game.” With Brock on the outside looking in of the OUA western conference, MacSporran knows every win is crucial and the team can’t afford to be tinkering and experimenting with inexperienced lineups, but with that comes accepting that rest will come at a premium.
The Brock Badgers play next against the Guelph Gryphons on Wednesday, Jan. 24, and against the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 27. Both games will be in the Bob Davis Gym and are scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. tipoff.