Lady Hawks take on No. 1 team in the country to open season

John Browne
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Just how the Memorial University women’s basketball team will win its games this season is a mystery as the Sea-Hawks tip off their Atlantic University Sport (AUS) home opener six o’clock tonight against top-ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies at the Field House.

The Lady Hawks have lost five of the team’s top six scorers from last season, and it remains to be seen who will pick up the slack on a roster that includes eight rookies and three second-year players.

MUN coach Doug Partridge admitted prior to his players kicking off practice this week with a Frisbee game, “Offense is still a work in progress.”

Despite what looks to be a rebuilding year from the outside, Partridge believes his team has what it takes to be a contender this season.

“We have potential to finish in the upper half of the league and compete with the best teams,” said Partridge.

“As far as winning the league goes, we will have a much better picture after the first weekend.”

First things first. And that means facing the defending AUS champion and CIS bronze medal-winning Huskies who, based on an undefeated preseason, are ranked No. 1 in the country.

SMU is the only AUS team ranked in the the CIS top 10.

“They are a very different team than the one that started last season,” Partridge said of SMU, “They have three starters back, but they have two new starters and a whole new bench.”

Asked to describe the style of team fans can expect this season, Partridge said, “Fast paced, up and down the floor, very athletic and exciting.”

And Partridge points out, “In the preseason, we have been excellent on defense” and defence has always been Partridge’s priority.

“I think we have a good game plan for how we want to play against them. I think we can match-up with them in terms of our overall athleticism.

“But, because of our inexperience, it remains to be seen if we can stay together when things get difficult,” said Partridge.

If the Lady Hawks are going to generate consistent offence, it will likely start with third-year guard Megan Robinson from Waterloo, Ont., and wing Kelia Pond from the Goulds.

“Megan is in the best shape of her career,” said Partridge.

Partridge said she’s been running the floor well, and shot over 40 per cent from three-point range in the preseason.

“She looks to be prepared for a good solid year at the point and scoring.”

Pond, the team’s only fourth-year player, “has all the tools to be our leading scorer and a major factor in the AUS,” according to Partridge.

“She’s in great physical condition and understands our system,” added the MUN mentor.

Memorial will be without promising rookie Brooklyn Wright from Cambridge, Ont., who twisted her knee in a local exhibition game and will be out for possibly the first half of the season which Partridge says is “disappointing.”

The only player on the roster over six-feet, the 6-2 Wright is also a good shot blocker rebounder and three-point shooter.

St. John’s native Sydney Ezekiel, another rookie, is nursing a broken nose.

Meanwhile, there will be a familiar face on the visitors this weekend as former Sea-Hawk Emily Jameson is playing her final year of eligibility with the Huskies this season. Jameson will study in the SMU Masters of Business Administration program.

AUS MVP and senior national team member Justine Colley leads the Huskies attack.

Organizations: Business Administration

Geographic location: Waterloo, Cambridge

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