Dominant days are over

John
John Browne
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Lady Hawks struggle to stay in playoff hunt

Doug Partridge

Memorial Sea-Hawks women's basketball team isn't the force it once was in the Atlantic University Sport conference. That's painfully clear this season.

While the team is competitive, the days when it dominated the conference look to be over.

The days of claiming six AUS crowns in nine years, winning scoring titles and producing a handful of individual first and second-team all-stars and rookie awards along the way also seems like a long, long time ago.

These days, the Lady Hawks have trouble making it out of the quarter-finals and the pipeline of dominant, impact players has dwindled to a trickle.

The Field House, once Death Valley for visiting teams, is now a place where the opposition feels comfortable most of the time.

If there's any consolation, MUN's long-time rival, the Cape Breton Capers, are going down the tubes as well.

The Lady Hawks' downward trend is rather obvious.

Memorial finished 17-3 in the 2007-2008 regular season. The following season, MUN finished 16-4.

In 2009-10, the Sea-Hawks fell to 13-7 and then to 12-8 in 2010-11. Last year, the Lady Hawks finished with a 10-10 mark, just good enough for fourth place, four points ahead of St. Francis Xavier.

The team's future is muddy at best with the impending loss of fifth-year veterans Ally Forsey, Grace Fishbein - the team's top two scorers - along with Kim Devison.

Next season aside, the Sea-Hawks are fighting for their playoff lives right now.

Heading into weekend games against St. Francis in Antigonish, N.S., the Lady Hawks are 5-7 and 10 points behind fourth-place Acadia Axewomen.

"It's going to be a battle 'til the end of the year and we've just got to keep fighting," said coach Doug Partridge, who joked that the team has been in a playoff battle since they started the season 1-5.

The Sea-Hawks split a pair of games against the Dalhousie Tigers this past weekend at the Field House and Partridge said that wasn't a bad outcome considering the injuries and illnesses the team has had this season.

"We could have played better, but it would have been asking a lot from of us to win both games considering where we are physically."

Partridge said the Sea-Hawks are looking for at least a split of the two, four-point games against St. Francis this weekend in Antigonish, N.S.

The MUN coach didn't hesitate to sit his starters Sunday as the team fell to the Tigers after an opening series win.

"Our bench was awful Saturday, but I thought our bench out-performed our starters Sunday," he said.

As far as the Sea-Hawks' fall from championship contender status, Partridge said he believes the team has been, "a little slow to adapt to the jump in athletic level of the women's game in the last few years. But we are starting to catch up.

"The other problem," he said, "is the normal progression is one year to get used to everything, one year to integrate what you have learned and in your third year you are ready to go all out.

"Several players have not met that expectation and then the series of injuries and illnesses have interrupted others," he explained.

"It's by far the most snakebitten recruiting class we have had at MUN," said Partridge, adding, "and it has made it hard to build to the place myself or the players would like to be.

"But there is still some time this season to see what we can do."

In the meantime, to pick up the pace at Wednesday night's practice, the Lady Hawks worked out with a pool of players from the Newfoundland midget boys' team. Partridge said he thought it would also help for his players to see a different look during the five-on-five scrimmages.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Boxe(s):

AUS Standings

Team GP W L PTS

Saint Mary's 11 11 0 30

Dalhousie 11 8 3 24

St. Francis Xavier 11 6 5 22

Acadia 10 8 2 22

Memorial 12 5 7 12

Cape Breton 12 3 9 6

UPEI 11 2 9 6

UNB 10 1 9 2

Note: Some games are worth 4 pts.

Organizations: Sea-Hawks, Field House, Atlantic University Sport Dalhousie Tigers

Geographic location: Antigonish, Death Valley, Newfoundland Saint Mary

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Recent comments

  • J.McManamon
    February 17, 2013 - 18:48

    Funny,you mention Ann Murrin as a great player but the "COACH" couldn't bring himself to do that????

  • gregsmith
    February 02, 2013 - 12:23

    Boards is right on Doug u r so misinformed Grace Fishbein had every Ontario school interested and ncaa options as well Others had options. Does that come from arrogance or nfler insecurities Too bad we could ask ourselves where mun would be without the ladies from Ontario

  • derek
    January 24, 2013 - 21:27

    Might be time for a change at the top! Doug has done an admirable job for a long time and his style just may have run its course.

    • Doug
      January 26, 2013 - 07:41

      If they can't figure out how to unload Benoite, Partridge definitely isn't going anywhere and he sure as heck won't resign and give up the pension. Partridge had great results when he had great players like Ann Murrin, Jenine Brown, Amy Dalton, Katherine Quackenbush etc. Now that he has average players and is getting average results. Once the girls from the local high schools could no longer compete at the AUS level, MUN had to start chasing after the Ontario kids that none of the Ontario schools wanted and the results speak for themselves.

    • boards
      February 02, 2013 - 12:15

      Itis more like Doug and his coaching styles always negative in close games These women don't have to be yelled at about the time