The defence stepped up in the second half behind their home crowd and a very vocal bench to help Mohawk advance to the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association women’s gold medal basketball game after a 65-43 win over the Humber Hawks on Friday (Feb. 28). The Mountaineers will play three-time defending champion Algonquin College for a chance at their first medal since 2002.
The Hawks and Mountaineers raced out to an 8-8 tie to open their semi-final match in the David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre at Mohawk College. The two teams from Ontario’s West Division started the game knowing what was on the line: A spot in the provincial gold medal game.
After the fast start, both teams cooled off considerably, remaining at eight until the four-minute mark of the first quarter.
Mohawk employed its usual pressing defence and helped each other out with quick rotations while Humber’s length started to give the Mountaineers fits at both ends of the court.
Humber’s Mary Asare used her size in the post along with the shooting touch of Marie Maranan to give Humber a 30-24 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers weren’t phased by being down at half, starting the third quarter on a 5-0 run. Offensive rebounds continued to be a concern for Mohawk but the defence held Humber to just 13 points in the half, including a mere five points in the final quarter.
Coach Kevin Duffy made the needed adjustments at halftime for Mohawk as the women ran an efficient offence that saw them getting open looks at the basket. Mohawk’s Lacey Wolters utilized her size to grab several offensive rebounds and gave the Mountaineers a good low-post scoring threat.
Mohawk veteran point-guard Rachelle Abella, who was named player of the game for the Mountaineers, recorded four points, three rebounds, four assists, and a steal that the Hamilton native took the other way for a breakaway layup.
Humber’s Chioma Oriuwa had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, making her player of the game for the Hawks.
Abella’s sister, Jen Abella, was the leading scorer of the game with 15 points. Jen added four rebounds and four assists.
The Hawks still have a chance to play for a bronze medal if they can beat the St. Lawrence Vikings at 11 a. m. on Saturday while the gold medal game is set for 7 p. m.