Memorial Sea-Hawks wing Grace Fishbein finished both Atlantic University Sport games last weekend at the Field House, which is good news for the team’s playoff prospects.
A third-place finish is the best the Lady Hawks can achieve on this, the final weekend of the regular season.
MUN is in Wolfville, N.S. for a pair of games against the first-place Acadia Axewomen, who have already clinched a top-two berth and first-round playoff bye.
That means it will take three straight wins for Memorial to take the crown next weekend at the conference championship, hosted by St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish, N.S.
There’s no doubt the Lady Hawks have a better chance of winning three playoff games with the veteran Fishbein in the lineup.
Fishbein, who has a 10.4 points-per-game average in nine games this season, has seen limited action since suffering a mysterious illnesss in November, one which left the basketball player extremely fatigued. She underwent a series of tests, but all results came back showing her healthy.
She did manage to appear in both games this past weekend against the X-Women at the Field House.
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The Waterloo, Ont., native, who led the team in scoring last year with a 17.7 points-per-game average, scored eight points in 17 minutes Saturday and followed up with a team-high 15 points in 15 minutes Sunday as MUN split a two-game series with St. FX.
She played a game and a half two weeks ago in a split with Saint Mary’s Huskies, picking up 16 points in 17 minutes of court time.
“Things are progressing. I feel much better,” she said. “It’s great to be back on the floor. I’m starting to feel like myself again. Even last weekend, I could feel something there, but I felt much better this weekend.”
Against the X-Women, Fishbein showed flashes of her solid, consistent play from last season. At other times the rust was evident. She turned over the ball four times Saturday night, but looked strong driving to the net Sunday.
“I can’t say I’m symptom free, but at this point I’m getting better,” she said.
“I want to fulfil my role as a fourth-year player and a leader, but I have to remember I have been out a while and I need to do what I can to help without trying to do too much. So far so good.”
One positive note to come out of Fishbein’s absence is that other players have improved their game.
“Ally’s (Forsey) playing well in the post, our shooters have stepped up, and others have stepped up on defence and leadership wise, as well,” said Fishbein.
Fishbein said she will use the final two regular season games to see what she can do in terms of extended minutes.
“I want to get to 20 minutes (a game) and then get to the playoffs to see how much more I can do,” she said.
Partridge said Fishbein’s presence, “make us a little better … a little deeper.”
He feels she’s “coming around” and hopeful with another weekend before the playoffs and, “knock on wood, she can stay together.”
Partridge was also happy with the play a pair of bench players against St. Francis.
He praised the work of first-year Sea-Hawk Tiffany McMillion in the post for “shutting down the key and forcing St. Francis into an outside game,” and second-year Amanda Martret for her defence.