Sea-Hawks focused on job at hand

John
John Browne
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Play AUS semifinal tonight in Sydney, N.S.

The players gather in a circle outside the MUN gym. No one is moving and there's silence for about three minutes.

It's a visualization technique called clearing the water.

It's used to get rid of all of the distractions from the day and to get ready for a practice or a game.

Vicki Thistle

The players gather in a circle outside the MUN gym. No one is moving and there's silence for about three minutes.

It's a visualization technique called clearing the water.

It's used to get rid of all of the distractions from the day and to get ready for a practice or a game.

As Memorial star forward Vicki Thistle describes it: "You have a glass and you visualize it being hot and steamy and as you put all your distractions into it, it clears."

Thistle believes it works.

Memorial University basketball fans hope so, too.

First-place Cape Breton Capers, at 19-1, are favourites to retain the crown at the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's basketball playoffs in Sydney, N.S.

Second -place MUN, on the other hand, are desperate to erase last season's embarrassing 86-63 semifinal loss to Dalhousie Tigers.

The Sea-Hawks, who earned a bye to today's semifinal with a second-place 13-7 record this season, have their work cut out to regain a title they held two years ago.

"We have to come out more focused... ready to go," said Thistle, MUN's top scorer (15.1 ppg.) on the season.

Lack of focus at the start of last year's semifinal was one of the reasons the Lady Hawks stumbled badly against Dal as the Tigers built a 31-16 first-half lead and MUN never recovered.

"Obviously, you don't forget a loss like that," Thistle said of last year's poor semifinal effort.

"You use it as motivation," added the fourth-year St. John's native, who had a team high 18 points in the Dal match. "You try to forget during the year, but it's always in the back of your mind and you don't want to repeat it. If you lose a game like that you have to take something from it and what we took is that we can't repeat it this year. That doesn't mean it will be easy," she said.

"Still stings," said sophomore Ally Forsey about last year's semifinal loss.

"That was nowhere near the performance we're capable of. I thought about getting another chance all year.

"It won't be the same this time," she says with a smile. "We're prepared no matter who we play. We didn't seem to bring any energy and we certainly didn't bring our A game."

Forsey says she feels "differently" heading into her second AUS post season.

"I feel like I want to bring more to the team this year and hopefully we'll do better than last year," said Forsey who scored 12 points in 21 minutes of work in last year's semifinal.

"I didn't know what to expect last year, so there's definitely more pressure this time. I know what we going into in terms of the atmosphere, so it's definitely different."

As a second-year player, Forsey said there is a certain standard she feels she has to meet going into every game, especially the playoffs.

In the end, when it comes to the underdog Sea-Hawks, the question may not be whether their glass is cloudy or clear, but if the players see it as half empty or half full.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Dalhousie Tigers

Geographic location: Sydney, Dal, St. John's

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