DeMont’s three lands Brock in OUA quarter-finals
Kaley DeMont hit a three-pointer with nine seconds left Wednesday night to lift the visiting Brock Badgers women’s basketball team to a 61-58 victory over the Windsor Lancers in Ontario University Athletics first-round playoff action.
DeMont was supposed to come off of a high ball screen but she decided not to take a shot and passed the ball off to Noor Bazzi. Bazzi drove to the basket, taking DeMont’s defender with her, and then found DeMont for the winning three.
It was a great moment for DeMont, who has been battling injuries all season and only started to play for Brock after Christmas.
“She has been hurting a long time, probably two years now and maybe more,” Brock head coach Mike Rao said. “All the procedures haven’t really taken and I know she is slated for another surgery coming up soon.”
Chloe Peters, another Niagara product who returned to the court after Christmas after three years struggling with a back issue, also made an impact in the win. The Notre Dame/Niagara Prep alumnus had eight points and three rebounds in 12 minutes of playing time.
“That was huge compared to three or four games ago. She wasn’t close to those numbers at all but she is getting there. She hasn’t played in three years and she is starting to get in a groove,” he said. “She is getting the rust off.”
Brock’s plan was to deny the Lancers inside and make them score from the perimeter and the plan worked to success. Windsor shot only 28.1 per cent from the floor in the loss.
“It was our willingness to rotate and cover them on the perimeter time and time again,” Rao said. “They dug in at the post and defended the perimeter. Our close-outs were really good but offensively we still have some work to do. We had too many turnovers but our closeouts were the key to that game.”
Brock’s reward for beating Windsor is a Saturday night road game against Queen’s (21-1), the top-ranked team in Canada. The Badgers lost 74-45 to Queen’s on Jan. 5.
“For all our troubles, we get the No. 1 team in Canada, but it is what it is,” Rao said. “I’m just glad to be there and we will see what it brings.”
No matter what happens, Brock had advanced to the OUA quarter-finals for the third straight season and the year is already a success.
“The goal has been met and they over-achieved. I am really happy with the girls.”
There is no pressure on Brock and Rao doesn’t expect Queen’s to be rattled in its role as heavy favourite.
“They are graduating seven or eight fifth-year players. Our oldest kid is 21 and the majority of them are 25 or 26. It’s a big difference.”
Playing a team like that will be an invaluable experience moving forward for Brock’s young roster.
“They know where to move, where to go, how to defend and they see gaps in the defence.”
There will be no secret to how Brock will play against Queen’s.
“We are going to play hard. When you have a young team, you can’t take possessions off,” Rao said.
BADGERS 61 LANCERS 58
Rachel Stempski Player of the Game: Brock’s Noor Bazzi with 12 points, three assists, two steals and two rebounds.
For the Brock Badgers: Madalyn Weinert 13; Bazzi 12; Chloe Peters 8; Madison MacInnis 7.
For the Winsor Lancers: Harriet Carey 14; Reine Ndome 11.
Game stats: Shooting percentage: Brock 39.3, Windsor 28.1. Free throws: Brock 9-15, Windsor 17-25. Rebounds: Brock 36, Windsor 36. Turnovers: Brock 20, Windsor 16.
Up next: Brock is at Queen’s in quarter-final play Saturday night.