Wolves women’s basketball earns hard-fought win in quarterfinals

This victory has secured their place in the semifinals this coming weekend
Photo: Claire Donnan
The Algonquin Wolves' women hold hands in support before the game starts. They are also cheering on team members who were receiving provincial awards before the game.

The Algonquin College Wolves’ women’s basketball quarterfinal victory against the Mohawk Mountaineers was enthusiastically met by packed stands of family and friends at the ARC gym on Feb. 24.

The nail-biting 66-58 win secured the team’s place in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association semifinals this coming weekend. Throughout the ups and downs of the game the women were supported by stands of family and friends, with young children chanting “defence” and fellow varsity players heckling the opposing team during free throws and timeouts.

The stands at the ARC gym, absolutely full of people. Most wear black, white or green or Wolves merch and several wave towels or flags.
The crowd was electric at the Feb 24 quarterfinal game, cheering on the Wolves and showing up in numbers. Photo credit: Claire Donnan

The game had a tense start, with the Wolves down 14-16 in the first quarter. While the game was back-and-forth throughout, they turned it around by halftime, and held tightly to a 40-36 lead.

Despite the close start by the currently undefeated team, fans were undeterred by the tight game.

“They’re definitely staying consistent in terms of their defence,” said Djibril Fall, an ARC employee and fan watching the game. “As long as they keep rebounding, forcing the rebounds, putting constant pressure on defence, I think that they’re gonna win the game.”

From the halfway point onwards the game was intense, with two-way gameplay and strong defence from the Wolves. The team credits this victory to their strength in their defensive game.

“I feel like honestly it was one of our better games this season,” said Piper Hatherall, a power forward and the player of the game due to her 15 points scored. “The shutdown of the plays on defence was irritating them and giving us an ego boost at the time to keep going and push on offence.”

Coach Jaime McLean was pleased with the results, as well as the performance awards some athletes received for their work during the season.

“Those are the provincial awards, so those are performance awards from the season, we had multiple different award [winners] in there,” said McLean.

Dasia McDonald, a black woman in a Wolves jersey and multicoloured shoes, faces off against an opponent on the Mohawk team.
Dasia McDonald (right) locks in on an opponent. McDonald was recognized with a variety of accolades, including all-Canadian and East player of the year. Photo credit: Claire Donnan

Three athletes from the Wolves were recognized, including Libby Hirst as First Team All Star, Sienna Miller as Second Team All Star and Dasia McDonald as OCAA Defensive Player of the Year, East Division Player of the Year, First Team All Star and as a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association All Canadian.

The team also took home two awards, East Division Champions and East Defensive Team of the year.

Overall, McLean was pleased with the team’s performance throughout the game.

“I’m really happy with our performance, I think we’re showing we’re ready to peak at the right time,” said McLean. “We came in prepared this week, the girls all understood the jobs they needed to do and stepped up.”

McLean acknowledged that the Mountaineers were a tough opponent due to their organization, but that the Wolves’ defence ultimately won out.

“We knew the kind of shots they [Mohawk] were gonna be looking for. They’re an excellent team, they’re very well-coached and they’re very organized,” said McLean. “We knew that if we didn’t do our job defensively they could run away on us.”

Looking ahead, the women’s basketball team has officially made it into the OCAA semifinals happening on March 2, and the players are thrilled.

“We are absolutely super excited,” said Hatherall. “I think this year we have that drive, we want to get to the gold and silver. We want to prove ourselves. The East are not weak.”

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