Happy New Year!
We just returned from our training camp in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and are now preparing to open up league play this weekend at home against Ryerson and Toronto.
Our trip to Puerto Rico was outstanding. The purpose of the trip was to provide the team with a great environment in which to train and prepare for the second half of our season; play some exhibition games to also help get us back into game shape after a substantial layoff; provide a cultural learning opportunity; and to rest, relax and rejuvenate prior to the winter term. Our players committed to practicing hard each morning, and then had the rest of the day to explore the country, rest and relax. With the help of many parents who made the trip, the players travelled to Old San Juan to discover the rich history and artwork and architecture present in area. They also travelled to the rain forest and tested their balance under a giant waterfall. For New Year’s Eve, our men’s and women’s team “took over” the dance floor at the Marriott Hotel, while ringing in the New Year. The rest of the days were spent on the beach or by the pool side.
The thermometer hit 27 degrees Celsius (with a humidex of 33), and dropped to a low of only 24………….each and every day we were there. It was fantastic.
Our first game (Dec. 29th) was against the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamon – a well-coached team that plays in the NCAA (Div. II). Their head coach was the former U19 Puerto Rican National team assistant coach. The Athletic Director of Bayamon was the head coach of the U19 team. Both of whom I coached against many times in my stints with Canada Basketball – so it was great to catch up with them.
Bayamon was a relatively small team, other than their 6-3 post player. They were quick and ran intricate sets that proved very challenging to defend. None-the-less, despite getting off the plane the afternoon before, we played quite well and shot the ball extremely well. We opened an early lead, eventually building a 15 point first half lead (playing NCAA rules). This gave us the opportunity to work on some other aspects of our game. Bayamon closed the gap by half time to 9, as we led 38-29. The second half was much like the first – we built our lead into double digits and Bayamon would chip away. In the end, our shooting was too much and we held on to win 70-66.
Brittany Moore was outstanding once again, dropping 23 points on 5 of 8 shooting from behind the arc. Jenny Wright continued her fine rookie campaign with a double-double, 14 points and 10 boards. She had a perfect stat line, 3 for 3 from inside the arc, 2 for 2 outside the arc, and 2 for 2 from the foul line.
Our second game (Jan. 2nd) was against Swarthmore College located just outside Philadelphia. They were another smaller team, with a decent post player and some very good outside shooters. Not surprisingly the game went much the same as the first, although our 3-pt. shooting struggled this game. We build a large lead in the first half, again allowing us to work on some other aspects of our game. Swarthmore was very scrappy and could shoot from range, which allowed them to claw back into the game. We led 31-21 at half and finished the game up 56-43. Our 2-pt. shooting was very good at 51.5%, but our 3-pt. shooting faltered at 15.8% (3 of 19).
Paige Robinson had an excellent game at both ends of the floor and finished with 13 points. Brittany Moore grabbed 11 points despite struggling from beyond the arc, while Liz Boag dropped 10.
Up Next at Home:
Friday, January 5 vs. Ryerson 6pm
Saturday, January 6 vs. Toronto 6pm (Telus Community Game – Meet the Gaels after the game)
Friday, January 13 vs. Laurentian 6pm
Saturday, January 14 vs. York 6pm (Shoot for the Cure – Breast Cancer game)
Please check out our Breast Cancer Website to make your donation:
I will throw the gauntlet down and make my annual challenge: I will donate $1 for every point (both teams) scored in the game and challenge anyone else to join me in the cause.
Lastly, I hope you like the look of our new email template. It has been a while in the making and we are very happy with the outcome.
All the best.