Western’s women’s basketball team ended the week with a strong 64–58 win over the Waterloo Warriors, which marked their third straight wins and moved them closer to a playoff position.
Waterloo started off strong but after the first quarter spent most of the game chasing Western’s lead. Even by the end of the game, when the Warriors cut the Western lead to four, the Mustangs managed to cling on and get the win to improve to 4–11 on the season.
At the halfway mark of the first quarter, Western took the lead and never looked back.
Going into the second quarter up 34–29, Western kept the high intensity, hit almost every free throw and were, on the whole, successful from the 3-point line. The Mustangs shot 41 per cent from the field and 26 per cent from the arc.
The third quarter was Western’s most dominant, as the Mustangs took a 57–43 lead at one point. Western’s dominance was attributed to the hard work and persistence of players like Brett Fischer, Laura Graham and Maddy Horst.
One of the Mustang’s standout players, fourth-year guard Horst, vocalized how important it was for the team to keep their winning mentality, but also made it clear that winning is not everything to them.
“For us, it’s not really about winning right now," she said. "We’re just trying to develop as a team and to get a win is a bonus, but if we can walk out of every game knowing that we’ve gotten better I think that, at the end of the day, is more important to us."
Their recent success has definitely contributed to the team’s winning mentality, as the Mustangs again came out victorious on Saturday night, this time against the University of Guelph. This good run of games is a welcome positive for a team that has been hit hard with injuries to key players, and was at one point reeling at 1–11 on the year.
Mustangs head coach Brian Cheng has been successful in adjusting the lineup to make up for the deluge of injuries and build the confidence of his team despite their early season struggles.
“It’s all about improvising and making due, and when the war comes, it’s not what the plans are: it’s how you execute the plans," said Cheng. "That’s what we try to do."
The game itself was also special, as the team commemorated those who have lost their lives to cancer, those still battling it and those searching for the cure. The game, part of the "Shoot for the Cure" game, also celebrated the efforts of those involved in the ONERUN to help raise money for cancer research.
“It’s bigger than just basketball”, Cheng said. “It’s very important that we bring these issues to light,… and supporting the ONERUN is an exceptional cause. I’m very proud that we could do that and have the community here to support,… so it’s a double win tonight."
According to Cheng, the goal for the rest of the season is to keep performing, adapting and fighting for wins as the season nears its final stretch. And after a win over Guelph on Saturday night, the Mustangs keep moving up the OUA standings with four straight wins and plenty of momentum heading into the playoff push.