Women sweep, men swept on southern road trip
By IVAN DANIELEWICZ, Special to the Herald-Tribune
As hard as their opponents pushed, the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves women's basketball team didn't let up.
In Friday and Saturday night games last weekend, the Wolves smothered their opponents' offence in a 73-46 hammering of Lethbridge College Kodiaks and a hard-fought 68-56 victory over the previously undefeated Mount Royal University Cougars.
"We have really been stressing defence and the (Cougars) are a really high-powered team," said Wolves women's basketball head coach Dave Waknuk after Saturday's game against the Cougars. "They have some great players and for us to dig in defensively and hold them to 56 points...in this league if you can hold a team to under 60 (points), you played pretty good (defence) and we're pretty happy with that for sure."
Leading 39-33 heading into the second half, the Wolves held back several big pushes by the Cougars, who were fighting to get back into the game.
The Wolves' aggressive defence held the Cougars to just 26% field goal shooting in the second half compared, to the Wolves' 41%.
Another big bonus to the Wolves' defensive effort in the second half was that they didn't give the Cougars a single shot from the free-throw line.
Waknuk credited his veteran players for the team's defensive composure in the second half.
"The veterans we have are veterans with experience," he said. "We have a fifth-year player, a fourth-year player, and that core really sets the tone.
"(They) really lead the ship, and they don't panic, and have that sort of been-there-before or battle-tested mentality."
The pair of victories boosts their record to 5-1 this season, but Waknuk was quick to add caution to his optimism.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but to be at 5-1 six games in, I'm really happy with that for sure," he said.