Jylisa Williams and the Lakehead Thunderwolves have the OUA basketball playoffs in their sights, but they’re not quite there just yet.
Standing in their way, on the penultimate weekend of the regular season, is a trip to Laurier and a pair of dates against the No. 9 Golden Hawks.
Williams, named Tuesday as her program’s athlete of the month for January, said the Wolves are on the upswing and determined to stay on that track as the post-season closes in.
“I watched a lot of tape so far, because I’ve heard a lot about (Laurier),” she said. “They’re really tough, but I feel like if we play our ‘A’ game, on any given night any team can fall to us, definitely.”
The key is finding and maintaining that consistency.
The Wolves, stuck in a .500 rut, enter weekend play at 9-9, tied for fifth spot in the OUA West. Last Friday they played a full 40 minutes, held McMaster to 46 points and walked away with a six-point victory. But on Saturday, with a chance to take over fourth place, LU came out flat, lost by nine and found themselves in the exact same position they began the weekend at.
Williams, who’s averaging an OUA second best 20.6 points a night in eight games after joining the Thunderwolves active roster after the Christmas break, said the consistency will come with discipline.
“We’ve tried to hammer that in our heads and we know consistency has been a problem. Basically we have to forget about the past (but) we have to remind ourselves what we have done in the past, that we had no discipline,” she said.
Finding that winning form before the playoffs arrive will key any post-season success the revamped Thunderwolves might enjoy, Williams added.
Tied with Brock, the two teams have a three-game cushion over Guelph, on the outside looking in, in seventh place with just four games to go.
The Gryphons land at the Thunderdome next weekend for the regular-season’s final two contests, but the Wolves are hoping to have sewn up a playoff spot before then.
A win over the Golden Hawks would be a good start.
“It would be nice to go to their place and split, but it’s going to be tough,” said LU coach Jon Kreiner. “I think they’re ninth right now, but I think they should be a little higher than that. They’re a tough team to defend because they’ve got so many shooters, they’ve got so many players who can play.”
Add in one of the top defences in the OUA, and finding that win won’t be easy, he added.
“If we have the same start that we had on Saturday, against Laurier, then they’ll put us away pretty early,” Kreiner said, admitting his team doesn’t deal well with half-court pressure.
“We need to start better. I don’t think our team was prepared for Saturday’s game like we were for Friday’s game. But we addressed that in practice yesterday.”
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