Friday, October 20th saw the Niagara Knights women's basketball program lose their season opener 70-65 to the Mohawk Mountaineers. The Knights kept themselves in the game for the entire four quarters, but Mohawk's depth on the bench was the deciding factor, scoring 19 points compared to Niagara's 8.
The last time these two programs competed against one another was at the October 13th-14th exhibition tournament hosted by Georgian College. At this tournament, the two division rivals squared off in the finals, which saw Mohawk beat Niagara 76-48. The Knights were very shorthanded during this game, missing key players such as Courtney Kilyk (Fonthill, Ont.) and Kim Shepard (Woodstock, Ont.). The Mountaineers were in much tougher this game, playing a Knights' program with something to prove.
The Knights were paced offensively by Fourth year shooting guard Mary Ingribelli (St. Catharines, Ont.). The five-foot-six Governor Simcoe graduate shot 50 percent from beyond the arc, finishing with a game-high 23 points. The Knights will be sure to look to Ingribelli for strong offence outputs each game.
Another strong performance came from fifth year guard Courtney Kilyk, finishing her first game as a Niagara Knight with a double double (22 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals). The St. Francis Xavier University graduate scored 12 of her 22 points in the 2nd half, proving she can be relied upon to hit clutch baskets in big games.
When asked about his team's performance, head coach Mike Beccaria was proud of his team's effort and was excited about the raw talent he sees in his young program. "We are a young athletic team trying to find our way in the tough OCAA west. The coaches and players are confident that at the end of our long season we'll be in the mix for a medal. It's going to take a lot of hard work, but we like our group and the way they approach their craft. We are of course disappointed with the final score but understand that Mohawk returns 5 starters from a silver medal team."
The Knights will be back in action when they travel to Toronto Wednesday, October 25th to face off against the U of T Mississauga Eagles.