THUNDER BAY – The Lakehead University Thunderwolves women’s basketball team lost 83-63 to the Guelph Gryphons on Friday evening. The lop-sided final score was not telling of the battle that occurred for 34 minutes between two teams fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In order to qualify for the playoffs, Lakehead requires a win over Guelph tomorrow by 21 points, and for McMaster (10-11) to defeat the Laurier Golden Hawks (13-8), in Hamilton tomorrow afternoon (tip off is at 12 noon).
Both teams showed a case of the nerves in the early going, as the score sat at 8-4 for Guelph 5 minutes into the game. The women would find their offensive flow as the first quarter unfolded, with Carolyn Fragale hitting a triple and then a lay-up on the following possession to push some wind into the Thunderwolves’ sails, with the score 17-13 for the Gryphons after 10 minutes.
The halftime score was 34-31 Guelph, with the Gryphons committing 11 turnovers (7 from LU steals) in the first 20 minutes compared to the ‘Wolves 8 (Guelph- 2 steals).
The second half flowed with both teams trading baskets, Guelph sometimes mixing up their defense with a 2-3 zone. They wold be forced to play ‘man-to-man’ defense after Carolyn Fragale (3-5 3FG) and Kelsey Bardsley (3-9 3FG) started heating up from beyond the arc. When they did miss, Lindsay Druery and Sierra Guy were often right there on the offensive glass (6 offensive rebounds each on the game). Despite their best efforts, Lakehead could never take the lead, although coming within 2 or 3 several times down the stretch.
The game would be decided in the final 6 minutes when Guelph, whose lead was at 5 points, went on a run, thanks to impressive jumpers from Dana Van Balkom, Ali Dzikowski and Marlee Freeman, who were dead-eye in clutch time. Lakehead did not have an answer and would go down swinging from there, with Guelph creating a larger margin due to free throws and a decidedly defeated T-Wolves group.
Lakehead was led by Lindsay Druery with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Carolyn Fragale had 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 35 minutes. Kelsey Bardsley and Sierra Guy would add 9 points each.
Guelph had 6 players score in double figures, led by Marlee Freeman with 15 (3-4 from three), followed by Jasmine Douglas and Samantha Russell with 14 points each. Douglas also had 12 rebounds and 3 assists.
Guelph went 21-29 from the free throw line, compared to 6-9 for the ‘Wolves.
Coach Jon Kreiner said, “During the last 6 minutes of the game Guelph wanted it more, outplayed us and had an answer for everything we did. It is unfortunate but we need to regroup and win tomorrow.”
Game time is 6 pm tomorrow at the Thunderdome. Tomorrow night will be ‘Seniors Night’, as the women’s program will graduate Lindsay Druery (at half time of the men’s game).
Game will be webcast via SSN (www.ssncanada.ca/games) and audio play by play will be broadcast on CILU Radio, 102.7 FM and luradio.ca