Lakehead Thunderwolves Basketball To Wrap up Regular Season

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NNL Thunderwolves SportsbeatTHUNDER BAY- Sports – The basketball teams will end their regular seasons this weekend with a series of games versus the Guelph Gryphons. The women’s team are in a must win situation to extend their season into the playoffs, while the men’s team looks to finish the season strong despite a nasty bite from the injury bug of late. Fifth year senior Linsday Druery will be graduated in Saturday evening’s ‘Seniors’ Night’ ceremony.

Women’s Match-up: Both Lakehead and Guelph stand at 9-11 in the OUA West and the games this weekend will determine who will get into the playoffs. Lakehead must win both games to qualify for playoffs, and can finish as high as 4th place depending on another OUA West game on Saturday (Laurier vs McMaster). Guelph needs only one victory to seal a playoff berth.

Guelph forwards Jasmine Douglas & Samantha Russell are averaging 10.6 & 10.4 points and 10.3 & 6.8 rebounds per game, respectively. Douglas is also averaging 2 blocks per game. On the perimeter, Ali Dzikowski has been deadly from 3 (42/129) to go along with 11.7 ppg & 4.2 rpg. 2nd year wing Kayla Goodhoofd is averaging a solid 11 ppg & 5.6 rpg but has been out with an injury the last few games. Starting at the point guard spot is 3rd year Marlee Freeman who is averaging 7 ppg & 2 assists per game.

It will prove to be an additional challenge for Jon Kreiner’s team to deal with the Gryphons’ front line as the Thunderwolves forward Lacey McNulty suffered a season ending knee injury last weekend.

Of special note, Lindsay Druery has surpassed the 1000 point & 800 rebound mark in the OUA with her strong efforts last weekend vs Brock. Over the weekend Lindsay averaged 17.5 Points & 14 rebounds per game & now sits at 1007 points & 802 rebounds over her 105 OUA regular season games. Currently Lindsay Druery is in 6th place all time in the OUA for most rebounds in a career & with 2 more regular season games to go Druery will only add to that number. Lindsay is also Lakehead University’s all time leading rebounder with 1384 total rebounds.

Lindsay will be honored as part of the ‘Seniors Night’ ceremony at halftime of the men’s game on Saturday evening.

Coach Jon Kreiner shares, “This weekend is a huge weekend for both teams. At the beginning of the season there was a sense that these games would be very important in the standings. Now they mean a playoff spot. Both teams have been through several injuries recently but with so much on the line it will be important to have role players step up and contribute. The grind of the OUA schedule in one of the (if not the) toughest conferences in the country has prepared teams for a great playoff run and whoever is ready to take these games this weekend will give themselves some great momentum heading into the ‘second season’.”

Game coverage will be available via webcast on SSN Canada, and heard locally on LU Radio, 102.7 FM and luradio.ca

Men’s Match-up: The men’s team (18-2) will try to finish the season with a pair of home victories to extend their current 8 game winning streak against a Guelph team (8-12) that has lost 6 in a row, but can clinch the final play-off spot in the OUA West with one victory this weekend (or a Western loss on Saturday vs Windsor). For Lakehead, winning these games would prove valuable should the Thunderwolves be in a position of bidding for the Final 8 ‘Wild Card’ selection.

Guelph ranks 10th in the CIS in offensive rebounds per game (13.4), which will be a challenge for the Thunderwolves, who will be without starting center Yoosrie Salhia, forward Brendan King and rookie Joseph Nitychoruk (upper body injuries). Adam Johnson is listed as probable as he is recovering from an ear infection. In the recent absence of King and Salhia, the ‘Wolves have found relief in the play of Adam Johnson, Matt Schmidt and Anthony McIntosh, who have stepped up to provide scoring, rebounding and an interior presence on D.

Guelph is led by the scoring duo of Kareem Malcolm (18.7 PPG) and Dan McCarthy (17.8 PPG). McCarthy also leads the team in rebounding with 6.2 per game.

Coach Scott Morrison states, “While we reached one goal last weekend to earn a top seed heading into the play-offs, we still have plenty of unfinished business to take care of this weekend in terms of our season goals. Guelph is a tough and physical team that will put several tough match-ups on the floor including a back-court consisting of potential all-stars Dan McCarthy & Kareem Malcolm. They surround their tough 1 on 1 guys with a good collection of out-side shooters and strong offensive rebounders which will make them tough to stop. Like most teams we are dealing with some late season injuries and counting on our roster to perform after putting in a strong season of improving and preparing for moments like these.”

Game time Friday and Saturday is 8 pm. Game coverage will be available via webcast on SSN Canada, and heard locally on LU Radio, 102.7 FM and luradio.ca

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Hugh Mullally is the Sports Information Director at Lakehead University. Hugh shares, "In the field of athletics, I aspire to continue developing my public profile as a source for sports information with my current employer, with a little bit of entertainment mixed in with my live game commentary and my weekly radio show that features athletes and coaches from Lakehead University".