women's basketball 11

Mustang guard Mackenzie Puklicz faces off against a Guelph player during a previous game against the Gryphons.

The Mustangs women’s basketball team beat Brock 73–64 at home on Thursday night. After a close first and second quarter, the Mustangs pulled away in the third and fourth quarter, outscoring the Badgers 40–30 in the second half.

Heading into the game the team knew they were up against one of the more talented teams in the league. 

“We stuck to our game plan really well,” said Mackenzie Puklicz, veteran guard. “We always play better when we’re locked in on defense.”

In the first quarter Western struggled to establish their game, and both teams took turn trading points all throughout. The Mustangs finished the quarter one point ahead thanks to a last-minute three pointer from Sarah Coulhard.

The Badgers started strong during the second quarter, when the Mustangs struggled to shut Brock down defensively. As the quarter moved along, Western’s defense took form but it wasn't enough. The Badgers managed to put up a final basket, leading going into halftime. 

It was in the third quarter that the team really found their rhythm. Outscoring the Badgers 21–11. The Mustangs managed to completely stall the Badgers offensive, while simultaneously playing an effective offense.

In the fourth quarter the Badgers managed to get their momentum back but it was too late. The lead that the Mustangs took in the third was too large to come back from. The Badgers made a valid effort at a comeback but late in the game the Mustangs pulled away. Meredith McLeod sealed the victory for the Mustangs, with an offensive rebound and a three pointer, pushing the score out of reach for the Badgers.

It was the third quarter leg up that really sealed the victory for the Mustangs.

“We really focused on stopping them,” said Puklicz. “Then the scoring started to fall again.”

The most important thing that came from the game was the confidence that winning and playing a good game brought the team.

They are going into a crucial point in the year, the last game of the regular season being this Saturday and the first round of the OUA playoffs are starting on Feb. 22. Time and time again the team has proven that when they are playing their game, they can compete with the best.

“We’re playing with so much more confidence,” said Heine. “We’re moving the ball and we’re trusting each other.”

The momentum the team has found late in the season is what might push them further than they expected. Last year, the team was eliminated in the quarter finals and hope to come further. 

In the game against the Badgers, what pushed the Mustangs ahead was the scoring in the paint and in the forwards. Combined Victoria Heine and Julia Curran, the front court duo, contributed 44 of the 74 points that lead to the convincing win.

For the Mustangs women’s basketball team, the talent is there.

“Waterloo was a big win for us and a big game for playoffs,” said Puklicz. “It flowed better.”

This game seemed to have triggered some momentum coming just in time for playoffs, really initiating a buildup of momentum and confidence.

Wednesday’s game was their second to last game and clinched them a playoff spot. The final game of the season will determine who and where they play. Going forward into OUAs the team hopes to do better than they did last season, while making it as far as they can.

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