Wolves defence leads team to victory
TERRY FARRELL – Herald-Tribune staff
January 26, 2010
The Wolves' success over the weekend can be attributed to one thing: Defence.
The Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves swept the NAIT Ooks in women's basketball action at the GPRC gym, thanks to aggressive defence at both ends of the court.
The Ooks were having fits all weekend trying to get into the Wolves end before the eight-second clock expired. When they managed to beat that clock, they had even more trouble finding a shooting lane prior to the 24-second buzzer.
It was a scenario that repeated itself throughout the two-game series, resulting in 59-51 and 66-53 victories for the hometown Wolves.
"I'm really happy with the way the defence has been playing," said Wolves coach Dave Waknuk. "We forced I believe four 24-second shot clock violations and one eight-second violation yesterday (Saturday) alone."
The Ooks were being rushed into poor passing and shooting decisions all series, as the tenacious Wolves defence caused a total of 60 NAIT turnovers in the two-game set.
"We played with some different looks this weekend," said Waknuk. "We ran some zone defences and some different things that we sort of strategized (specifically) for NAIT and that seemed to work for us."
Other colleges will be asking for game film, particularly to see how the Wolves managed to shut down Ooks star and reigning ACAC scoring champ Dale-Marie Cumberbatch.
The Wolves held Cumberbatch to just eight points Saturday, the first time in 72 regular season games she has been held to single digits in scoring.
The last time she failed to score at least 10 points was the eighth game of her ACAC career, Nov. 4, 2006, once again, against the GPRC Wolves.
"She shot well (Sunday), scoring 21 points, but Saturday we held her to eight points and eight turnovers, which made me very proud," said Waknuk. "She's a dynamic scorer and we really made her work for what she got."
At the other end, Andria Carlyon was the star on Saturday, with a double double. She scored 15 points and had a remarkable 19 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards.
"I have seen a lot of great players play during my time at the college level, including Jenn Seemann who was all-Canadian, and I'm not sure if I recall 19 rebounds in a game, including 12 offensive," said Waknuk.
"For a first-year, she just continues to amaze. She had another 16 points and seven rebounds today (Sunday). She sits on top of the league in rebounds, she's our leading scorer, and all that for a first-year player. Wow."
Katarina Fialova (15) and Jaelle Buhler (12) also hit double digits Saturday. Buhler was the top Wolves shooter Sunday, with 17 points.
The Wolves had a three-point lead (26-23) at the half Saturday, before blowing the game open with a 17-8 third quarter.
Sunday the difference was the second quarter, where the Wolves outscored the Ooks 22-7.
"We got off to a little bit of a slow start (Sunday), but we didn't panic, we kept to our game plan and it paid off in the second quarter," said Waknuk.
Saturday's score flattered the Ooks somewhat. The Wolves only shot 28.6% from the floor, well below the 44.9% they achieved in Sunday's game.
The wins give the Wolves a 10-8 overall record and a stranglehold on the fourth and final playoff spot. They have a 10-point lead on Augustana, with six games to play.
They are four points behind the Grant MacEwan Griffins, who have also played two less games (12-4).
It looks like the Wolves are where they will be in the end. With that in mind, Waknuk has his work cut out for him, keeping the girls focused and playing to the best of their abilities.
"We have been asking the girls to show us constant improvement and I feel we have been doing that and feel we will continue to do that so we will be at our best come playoff time," he said.