Gryphons get comfortable to cruise to victory over Laurier

GUELPH – After a fairly even first quarter, the Guelph Gryphons turned it on in the second quarter and then basically cruised through the second half on their way to a 74-56 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks in OUA women’s basketball play Wednesday at the Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre.

The Gryphs held Laurier to three points in the second quarter while scoring 22 of their own.

“That was the best second quarter we’ve played this year,” Gryphon head coach Mark Walton said. “It’s really nice to have everybody back now. Now the challenge is going to be, OK, now they have to learn how to play with each other again. You know, what people do and where you expect them to show up and stuff. That’s going to be a bit of a process again.”

After holding a slim 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Gryphs ran to a 37-16 lead by halftime.

“Our defensive intensity, we were just all over the ball and we were communicating. Everyone was rotating properly. If we did need help, it was there,” Gryphon Ashleigh Wheeler said. “There was just a lot of intensity. I don’t think they were fully expecting the intensity that we brought so that might have come as a bit of a surprise to them.”

The pressure dropped off a little bit in the second half as the teams traded baskets.

“We just didn’t play with the same intensity and passion that we did in that second quarter, that’s for sure,” Walton said. “I think that’s part of the process that we’ve got to learn to keep going through.”

“I think in the second half because of our lead, we got comfortable with our lead,” Wheeler said. “That’s happened to us in previous games as well so I think we have to work on, as a team, keeping our intensity up and recognizing that they are going to score and that they are going to go on runs, but recognizing quicker the adjustments that we have to make to stop them from getting easy buckets. Our intensity just dropped and we got a bit too comfortable and didn’t have as much pressure on the ball and weren’t communicating as much as we were in the first half.”

The Gryphs also got floor time for all 12 of their players with Reece Mungar playing in her first game since Nov. 8 when she suffered a concussion in a win at Brock in Guelph’s third game of the regular season. She had scored 12 points in each of the first two games. Mungar is in her first season with the Gryphs after two seasons of NCAA play with the Northern Kentucky Norse.

“We as coaches have to figure out our substitution patterns now and how we’re going to play against certain teams,” Walton said. “We’ve got to work those things out. At least today everybody got in the game and made a contribution one way or another.”

The Gryphs shot 45 per cent from the floor and 42 per cent on three pointers and 64 per cent on free throws. Laurier shot 32 per cent on field goals, 46 per cent on three pointers and 72 per cent on free throws.

Skyla Minaker led the Gryphs with 14 points while Burke Bechard had 13 and Ivana Vujadinovic added 12. MacKeely Shantz had eight rebounds while Minaker, Bechard and Wheeler each had six. Bechard also had eight assists while Minaker had three steals and two blocks.

Kate Moran collected 14 points for Laurier and Brianna Iannazzo had 12. Maya Day and Jill Condron each had four rebounds while Alliasen Miscione and Rachel Woodburn each had four assists. Woodburn also had three steals and Moran had two blocks.

“I’m glad we had this game today and we showed our ups and downs, showed that we need to do some things yet,” Walton said. “Hopefully we’ll work those things out in the next week or so.”

“We’re definitely not satisfied and we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Wheeler said.

The win was the third in a row for the Gryphs and left them at 8-5 while Laurier fell to 6-9.

The Gryphs are to host the Lakehead Thunderwolves (2-10) Sunday at 12 noon. Next week they’re to play the Western Mustangs (13-2) at London Wednesday and host the Windsor Lancers (11-2) Saturday.

“It’ll be a tough couple of games, but I think we’re ready. It should be good,” Wheeler said. “We have a lot of potential as a team to go very far this year. We’ve got a really special group so we have very high expectations for ourselves and I think we’re willing to put in the work that we need to to be successful.”

 

Gryphons 74 Golden Hawks 56
Laurier        13-3-25-15–56
Guelph     15-22-21-16–74
 
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  • Guelph Sports Journal