Last updated: September 20, 2012 3:58 pm
History beckons Lancers women's basketball
WINDSOR (CUP) — Despite the lure of being the third women’s basketball program in the history of the CIS to ‘three-peat’ as national champions, it’s back to the basics for the Lancers.
“We may be even more talented this year,” head coach Chantal Vallée said of her 2012-2013 squad. “But we haven’t won anything together.”
Although Coach Vallée believes this year’s recruit class will compensate for the talent deficit left by the graduation of guard Emily Abbott and forward Iva Peklova. However, she’s concerned that the leadership void created by the loss of Abbott will prove to be the team’s biggest challenge in vying for a third-straight CIS title.
Karissa Willaims, who was an all-conference rookie two years ago, believes that the Lancers’ biggest challenge this year will be “getting the new recruits up to par.” To lead by example, the team will look more to league MVP Jessica Clemencon, floor leader Miah Langlois and sharp shooters Bojana Kovacevic and Laura Mullins.
It goes without saying that winning the provincial title along the way is not a guarantee. Vallée admitted that the devastating loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the 2011 OUA Championship playoffs was hard to take. “It was humiliating, but also a wake-up call,” she said.
It was a lesson well learned for Windsor, despite redeeming themselves against the Gee-Gees in CIS West Regional play en route to claiming their second consecutive CIS title against No. 2-ranked UBC in Regina.
“It’s in the big picture,” Williams agreed. “Nothing’s ever easy. It’s always step by step, game-by-game.”
The OUA playoff lesson in humility and resilience translates to persistent player development on and off the court; as individuals and as a team.
“The culture of the team must be one of sacrifice and unity,” Vallée said, defining her coaching philosophy. “Winning and losing are secondary to the battle against complacency. [Basketball is] 100 per cent character development … We have a need for leadership off the floor.”
Miah Langois, the playoff MVP for both of the Lancers’ championships, echoed this sentiment.
“It’s true, how you handle situations off the court, even emotionally, is probably how you will handle them on the court.”
The Lancers held an open tryout in the St. Denis Centre fieldhouse this past Monday for athletes interested in joining in this success of this illustrious program.
This is a season not to be missed. The Lancers home schedule kicks-off Nov. 9 and 10 against their OUA East rivals Carleton and their nemesis, the Ottawa Gee-Gees, respectively.