by Syed Naqvi
Waterloo Women’s Basketball Team epitomizing the true Warrior spirit beat MacEwan Griffins of the MacEwan University 50-36 in their opening game of the 50th annual Naismith Classic.
Warriors’ starting line-up comprised of Kaitlyn Overeem, Sydney Wilson, Mackenzie Obermayer, Aphia Ward and Megan Goar. Both the teams took some time to get into their stride, as everyone in the crowd witnessed a host of missed chances in the opening few minutes. Mackenzie Obermayer, however, had other ideas when she opened the scoring with a free throw to give Warriors the lead. Kaitlyn Overeem, taking advantage of MacEwan’s profligacy in front of the basket, quickly compounded their misery by scoring 5 points in the space of a few seconds. However, MacEwan Griffins responded and Anna Mbuyi, coming from the bench, started the scoring for them. However, it was too little too late by then and the 1st period of the game came to an end, with Warriors leading Griffins 13-6. Warriors’ Kaitlyn Overeem scored a game and quarter high 8 points in the first quarter.
MacEwan Griffins started the second period with a bang as Rachel Hare commenced the scoring for the 2nd period with a 3 pointer. After this Warriors quickly responded with Kaitlyn Overeem again proving to be instrumental in both the defence and attack. However, before Warriors could gain the upper hand, MacEwan Griffins’ coach called for a timeout. That timeout, however, proved to be in Warriors’ favour as they came back and started to dominate the period. It wouldn’t be wrong to call the 2nd period a period of timeouts as the audience witnessed a total of 3 timeouts. As a result of these timeouts neither Warriors nor Griffins was able to really overpower the other one and the period ended 13-12 in Warriors’ favour. At the end of the first half the scoreboard read 26-18 with Warriors leading by 8 points.
The 3rd period of the game was akin to a question and answer session with both the teams replying to all the questions the other was asking. It was end-to-end basketball at its best. With MacEwan Griffins realising that time was against their side, they adopted various approaches to break the steadfast defense of Warriors. Thus, the 3rd period ended 10-9 in Griffins’ favour. The cumulative score on the board read 35-28, with Warriors leading by 7 points.
The first few minutes of the 4th period can be best described as a barrage of successful attacks from the Warriors. Mackenzie Obermayer, who was relatively quiet throughout the first 3 periods, came to life in the 4th period and started the scoring for the Warriors. Soon after, Kaitlyn Overeem and Vanessa Hughes joined her leading a blitzkrieg against Griffins. The 4th period was accompanied by huge chants from the audience as the trio from Warriors laid waste to the whole team from MacEwan. With the game seemingly out of their reach, players from MacEwan brought in a more physical approach to the game and thus the 4th period was littered with fouls from Griffins’ side. Warriors also lost Sydney Wilson, who injured her right knee, in this period of excessive fouls. Soon after, the period, and subsequently, the game finished. The scoreboard read 50-36 in favour of Warriors and there was a huge round of applause from the home fans for their beloved Warriors.
Kaitlyn Overeem, of the Warriors, was head and shoulders above all the players, with 17 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds.
Warriors will now face Mount Royal Cougars and the Wilfrid Laurier Hawks in the next games of the tournament.