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Lancers find their zone

The Windsor Lancers were in the zone on Friday night.
Tasia McKenna (centre) goes up against Windsor's Miah-Marie Langlois (left) and Jessica Clemencon, who led both teams with 19 points. (Leith Dunick,
The Windsor Lancers were in the zone on Friday night.

Well, in the second half, at least

The Lancers rebounded from a three-point halftime deficit, readjusted their defensive attack and took advantage of a Lakehead Thunderwolves team that founds its two post players in foul trouble early on and couldn’t play its normally aggressive style down low.

Windsor also kept Lakehead all-star Tasia McKenna at bay, after allowing her 13 first half points, enough to move her into second place on the Wolves all-time scoring chart, with only Kathy Harrison left to conquer before her five-year university career ends later this year.

Lancers coach Chantel Vallee said her No. 2-ranked squad got a bit of a surprise in the early stages of the game, which ended 71-60 in their favour.

“I think Lakehead came out really strong. They started with great shooting. In the second quarter they were just in good spirits and they were working very good offensively. We couldn’t find answers defensively how to control the situation better,” Vallee said.

“We talked about it at halftime and decided why not try (a zone defence) and see where that leads. Obviously we were pretty happy with the outcome of playing that zone.”

Without it the Lancers (12-2) looked vulnerable, particularly when McKenna had the ball in her hands. The fifth-year guard had six points in the first quarter, despite trailing 16-13, and kept it going in the second, helping to key a 9-0 run to start the period.

McKenna sank a basket to give LU (10-5) the lead at 17-16, then after missing a pair of free throw, the reigning OUA female athlete of the week sank a three to put her team up six. The long distance shot moved her ahead of Katya Masun into second place on the Wolves all-time list.

She’d finish the half – and the game – with 1,863 points, leaving her 105 points behind Kathy Harrison’s career mark.

The trouble began late in the quarter. Post Lacey McNulty, who had eight points in the second, picked up her third foul with two minutes to go.

It changed the way the Wolves attacked and defended in the second half, said fifth-year foward Sarah Gordon, who had 11 points on the night.

“We had a game plan all week on how we were guarding their bigs. And it’s a little bit more difficult when we don’t have Lindsay (Druery) and Lacey in there, for sure,” said Gordon. “I think that in the long run (Jessica Clemencon), their big girl, didn’t really score that many from the floor. We just fouled her a lot, which pretty much a big down fall from us. We weren’t rotating well.”

Clemencon, a walk-on from France and the fourth-highest scorer in CIS women’s basketball went a perfect 9-for-9 from the line, en route to a 19-point, 12-rebound performance.

Windsor took a 52-49 lead into the fourth, and went on an 11-3 run, fuelled by several Lakehead turnovers, that stretched their lead to 63-52.

McNulty, who finished with 18, buried a three to pull the Wolves within eight, and Darcy Zinck hit a trey of her own to close the gap even further, but a three-point hoop-and-foul by Windsor guard Bojana Kovacevic upped it to nine again, ending the threat.

Lakehead coach Jon Kreiner said it was a case of missed opportunities, noting at one point the Wolves prevented Windsor from taking the lead three straight trips down the court at packed C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse, but couldn’t respond with points of their own.

“Windsor did a great job taking us out of our offensive rhythm, going to their zone. They’re so long and you see how many tips and deflections there were. We only had four turnovers at half. We played probably our best first half of the year. But we just turned the ball over nine times in the second half and it was just tough,” he said.
Windsor and Lakehead will try it again on Saturday night. Tip-off is 6 p.m.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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