DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
There may only be five games under the collective belt of the Winnipeg Wesmen, but Tanya McKay is starting to get a sense of what she has in front of her.
And more and more she's liking what she sees.
The Wesmen women's basketball team moved to 5-0 in the non-conference season Sunday, defeating the Lakehead Thunderwolves 78-58 in the final game of the BOB-FM Shootout at the Duckworth Centre. For the second straight day, the head coach was able to empty her bench and get all 12 healthy players a chance to see the floor.
The Wesmen used a 14-2 run over 2:57 of the second quarter to push a 14-13 lead into a double-digit advantage midway through the period. The Thunderwolves, who trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, managed to once again make it a 10-point game in the third quarter, but another 12-2 run early in the third pushed Winnipeg's lead to 20.
"Defensively, there were a lot of good things," McKay said. "We're controlling ball penetration, we're controlling switches, ball screens, handoffs. So it was a good defensive effort."
And while the Wesmen surely know there are bigger and tougher challenges that lay ahead, McKay has been pleased with the overall picture her team has painted in a pre-season schedule that has allowed the Wesmen to play teams from four provinces and all four U Sports conferences.
"The kids are starting to get what their jobs are and what their responsibilities are when they're on the floor," McKay said. "So when we get into rotations, they know what they need to do. Now it's challenging them: Can we continue what we're doing? Or do we change how we play. I hope that we just keep getting better, grow and do our jobs."
The Wesmen led 14-11 after a quarter and took a 41-28 lead into the half. They then outscored Lakehead 20-11 in the third.
Winnipeg shot 8-for-20 from the three and 41.4 per cent from the field overall. Lakehead was held to 30.9 per cent from the field and 7-for-22 from three.
On Sunday, the Wesmen got a game-high 17 points from Robyn Boulanger, who was once again efficient and effective on the offensive end: She went 7-for-13 from the field and 3-for-5 from three while committing no turnovers and dishing out three assists. Boulanger finished the two-game weekend shooting 62 per cent from the field and 63 per cent from three-point range.
"When you have your guards who can just kinda control the play and stay composed and hit the open shot when they have it, or create good opportunities, it just gives good balance to our offence," McKay said.
Faith Hezekiah added 15 points for the Wesmen, who will head to Thunder Bay, Ont., next weekend to play in Lakehead's four-team tournament with Memorial and Algoma.
Nikki Ylagan had 16 points to pace Lakehead, which finished the tournament with a win and a loss, having beat Manitoba on Friday.