Depth key for Tommies basketball

Hilary Goodine makes a shot on net at Saturday's game against the Durham Lords (Philip Drost/AQ)
Hilary Goodine makes a shot on net at Saturday’s game against the Durham Lords (Philip Drost/AQ)

It took some time for the St. Thomas women’s basketball team to get going Friday night against Durham College. The game was not part of the 3rd Annual Ken Gould Tournament, but was the first chance fans had to see their Tommies play at home before the season starts next month.

At the end of the first quarter the Tommies only led by one, and by half they were up by four. At the start of the 4th quarter they had extended their lead to ten, and ended the game with a 72-50 victory over the Durham Lords.

“We are going to take it one game at a time and see where it gets us,” said Fred Connors, who is his tenth year as head coach of the team. The women have won the ACAA the past three years and are now looking for more.

“Ultimately we try and win a national championship. An ACAA title is the first step in that process for us, but we don’t take anything for granted either,” said Connors.

The Tommies only have one fifth year player. Ashley Bawn is in her final year on the team, and has been there for the three ACAA championships. This year the goal is higher.

“Our goal is to always win league. We’ve done that for the past three years so our goal now is to win a national title,” said the fifth year guard. “That is my individual goal as well. Being a fifth year player, I would like to end on that.”

One of the team’s biggest assets is their depth. On Friday night, almost every player on the team clocked in for 17 minutes or more. The highest scorers were Laura Anderson and Hilary Goodine with ten points, and eight of the other players had over five points. The next game, and first official game of the tournament, was more of the same, only better.

Saturday morning STU played the University of King’s College Blue Devils. With another balanced attack, the Tommies won 82-53. Brittany Gilliss lead the way 17 points, followed by Danielle Leblanc who had 14.

Coach Connors said he’s happy with the team’s abilities.

“We like how hard our girls are working in practice. As long as they are working hard they’re going to play. It’s part of our style. We just keep putting people out there and keeping the game at a very high pace, so we need a lot of bodies in order to play that way.”

Connors’ style has been proven to work, as his coaching got him the 2013 CCAA Coaching Excellence Award Across All Sports.

“Coach always tells us that we’re the best competition in practice, so we really need to be tough on ourselves in practice and play hard every game,” said Bawn.

“We just need to continue to do that and push each other to be better.”

The Tommies won their second game of the tournament in a rematch against Durham. The women improved on their previous victory over Durham, winning 69-36 in the Saturday night game. Danielle Leblanc finished with 14 points and Carissa McTague had 13 points for STU. On Sunday, the women beat the Holland College Hurricanes 77-63. Now, Connors is keeping his eye on the next game.

“We just try and take things one day at a time. It’s a long year. There are going to be injuries, there are going to be lots of things that happen,” he said.

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