Challenges continue for hoop Axewomen heading into Christmas break

John Decoste
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It’s become a matter of perseverance and simply surviving for the Acadia women’s basketball team, especially now that Kristy Moore has joined Rita Sibo and Chika Chiekwe on the sidelines for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season.

A recent MRI confirmed what many already feared: Moore’s knee injury is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), depriving the Axewomen of their leading scorer and one of only a few remaining veterans on the squad.

“Of the 13 kids we think we might have” – including promising first-year forward Allie Berry who is also currently injured – “eight of them are first-year players right out of high school,” head coach Bev Greenlaw.

“Two are in their second year of eligibility,” though one of those, Janelle Vanhie, red-shirted last season. “One (guard Maya Macatumpag) is third-year eligible, though this is the first year she’s played even semi-regularly.”

Rachel Savage is in her fourth year of eligibility, the second year of her second stint with the team. Abbey Duinker is the only fifth-year senior.

Duinker, who missed time with a concussion earlier in the season, has averaged 15 points and eight rebounds a game so far this season, “despite being double, triple and even quadruple-teamed” by most opponents, Greenlaw said.

“I sincerely hope Abbey ends up with the first-team all-conference berth she deserves,” he said. “She’s certainly performing at a first-team all-conference level.”

Berry, a natural post player who can both score and rebound, was expected to take some of the pressure off Duinker, and she was able to do so when healthy. Berry, though, is battling a quad injury that has kept her out of all but a couple of games.

That’s not to say the news has been all bad. The injuries have opened spots in the starting lineup for Emily MacLeod, Katie Ross and Maire Burke, all of whom have shown at times the potential Greenlaw saw when he recruited them.

Ross has gone 10-29 from three-point range, and MacLeod and Burke are averaging 5.7 and 5.4 rebounds per game respectively.

The fifth spot in the starting lineup, originally meant for Sibo before she tore an ACL in the pre-season, went to Macatumpag, who has done everything expected of her and more. Second on the team in scoring behind Duinker, at 9.9 points per game, she leads the team in assists and has solidified the point guard position.

Tamara Dondi, who also played rugby for Acadia this season (as Ross also played soccer earlier this fall), has helped off the bench, averaging 21.5 minutes a game.

The Axewomen enter the Christmas break with a 2-5 record, with wins over UNB and Dalhousie, two losses to UPEI and one loss each to Dal, UNB and St. F.X.

 “Most people will describe this as a rebuilding year for us,” said Greenlaw, who remains as positive as possible. Given all the injuries and adversity, “I’d sooner say what we’re trying to do is make this a true team-building year.

“We’re very young, but our intention is to build a team that can be truly competitive in a very competitive AUBC, hopefully by the end of this season.”

The way things have gone, Greenlaw said, “we have no alternative but to try and do so.”

Geographic location: Acadia

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