Eastern woes

Be it pollution, congestion or ‘the man,’ something was getting the Dinos women’s basketball team down during their Ontario road trip Oct. 21-23. The voyage began in pristine Hamilton, with its crystal clear waters and breathtaking architecture, paused in the exciting St. Catharines and ended in relaxing, easy-going Toronto.

“It was great for team building and life experience,” Head Coach Shawnee Harle said of the trip, noting that many players got to see Niagara Falls for the first time, “but the main reason we go is to get ourselves ready for league play.”

But oh beautiful smokestacks emitting billowing grey effluent, what did you do to the Dinos? Just a week after giving the top-ranked Simon Fraser University Clan a run for their money, the fourth-ranked Dinos gave the McMaster University Marauders something other than a big ass bridge out of their city to smile about on Friday.

The Marauders sped to an early 11-1 lead. As the game continued, the point-spread widened, making everyone’s favourite colourfully advertised store look like the Hair-line Fracture rather than the Gap. But, while the Marauders led 65-35 in the second half, our ladies pulled the bags off their heads and hit some baskets–finishing up with an only slightly embarrassing 81-61 loss.

“We have to play smarter,” Harle suggested. “We’re playing tough and we’re working our butts off. We’ll be a little smarter with more time and experience.”

Tanya Hautala led the Dinos with 16 points and four steals. Dino newbies Courtney Coyle and Michelle Willson, too, saw through the smog hitting 13 and 11 points and hauling down seven and eight boards respectively.

While Saturday’s game against the Brock University Badgers didn’t start off too badly–with the Dinos trailing 48-40 at the break–the second half didn’t see the necessary improvement and the Badgers scurried away with a 93-78 win. Of no help was the Badgers’ Jodie Ebeling, who blinded the Dinos with 40 points.

“It’s a good heads up as to what we need to work on,” Coyle explained. “It shows us how much improvement we need, and that we’ll get better.”

Hautala was, again, hot for the Dinos, with 29 points and six steals. Katherine Adams stepped up with 13 points and five steals. Whitney Haswell and Willson led the Dinos in rebounds, with eight and seven respectively.

In both above games, the Dinos struggled with shooting percentages all over the court. This would be one key improvement they would make for their final game of the weekend against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday.

The game was much closer, and the Dinos played with more of the ferocity they hope to bring for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, the Dinos trailed 36-35 at the half, losing the game in the last couple of minutes 81-76.

“We’re scoring enough points to win,” Harle commented, “but, we’re using a brand new defensive system that no one on the team has run before. It will take time to perfect.”

The game was not a disappointment though; the Dinos forced 27 turnovers, stole the ball 15 times and had four of their nine dressed players in double digits. Hautala, Coyle, Willson and Pam Weatherbee downed 16, 15, 10 and 10 points respectively. Haswell was the team’s leading rebounder with 10.

We got what we expected out of the Ontario teams, but we didn’t get what we expected out of us,” Weatherbee admitted. “We got progressively smarter though, we’re moving in the right direction.”

The Dinos begin their regular season with games Oct. 28-29 in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. Both games begin at 6 p.m. against the number three University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Hopefully, the Dinos go the way of the cheetah and the T-Birds the way of the gazelle.