Griffins add athleticism with three new guard recruits

Kelowna point guard Rachel Hare brings four years of experience with the B.C. provincial basketball program (Kevin Bogetti-Smith photo).
Kelowna point guard Rachel Hare brings four years of experience with the B.C. provincial basketball program (Kevin Bogetti-Smith photo).

Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics 

EDMONTON – MacEwan's women's basketball team is at its best when defensive intensity leads to multiple steals and added possessions.

It's how they beat U SPORTS No. 1 Regina during the 2016-17 season and how they sealed a win over the playoff-bound UNBC Timberwolves during the 2017-18 campaign.

On Tuesday, head coach Katherine Adams announced three new recruits that will help them play that style even more consistently. Kelowna's Rachel Hare, Red Deer's Hayley Lalor and Calgary's Madi McTighe will be joining the Griffins for the 2018-19 Canada West campaign.

All three inject a dose of athleticism into the lineup of a young Griffins squad looking to return to the playoffs next season after missing out in 2017-18.

"Last year when we looked at our recruiting class, we added a lot of size," said Adams. "This year, we're adding athleticism to help with a shift in the way we play and the style we want to implement going forward."

Hare, who will join fellow Kelowna products Ellie McCarthy and Monika Curtis on the Griffins, was the starting point guard this past season for B.C. provincial 3A champion Kelowna Secondary. The 5-foot-7 playmaker also represented B.C. on the national stage the past four years, including at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

"She was a four-year member of the B.C. provincial team, so Rachel brings a lot of experience to the table," said Adams. "I think Rachel is going to come in and find a lot of ways to contribute for us. She can score and she rebounds the ball well."

Hare, who will be pursuing a Science degree at MacEwan – the institution her grandmother once taught at – brings a background in several sports, including ski racing, volleyball and ultimate frisbee. All of that helps her excel on the hardcourt.

"She's a smart, intelligent player, so I think that we're going to see some good things from her," said Adams. "The opportunity is there for her to step in and make a difference right away."

Lalor, whose older sister Kelsey plays for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, brings an intensity to the game that should help the Griffins in the steals department.

Red Deer's Hayley Lalor comes from a multi-sport background, which has helped her excel on the hardcourt.

"Hayley does everything," Adams said of the 5-foot-8 guard. "She's an incredible athlete and is really going to help us change the style of game that we play – being able to push tempo, play a bit faster paced."

Her athleticism was honed through a varied sporting background that included volleyball, badminton, tennis, cross-country running and track. She has also played baseball in the provincial program the past five years. Add that to a basketball upbringing as the daughter of Lindsay Thurber's coaches Dwayne and Kathy Lalor and it led to earning her team's MVP honours last season.

"She's got a motor and she's a fierce, tough, gritty competitor," said Adams. "She fits our style perfectly. So, we're really looking forward to see how she can help us in that transition to play a different style and fitting in with the girls we have in the program now to help build that moving forward."

McTighe, a 6-foot guard out of Calgary's Bowness high school, also has that varied athletic background that developed her into a true athlete. She led Bowness in points and assists during her senior season.

Calgary's Madi McTighe brings versatility and athleticism to the guard position.

"Madi is going to really increase our athleticism – another multi-sport athlete," said Adams of McTighe, who also competed in volleyball and track. "She's a 6-foot guard, who can shoot the ball and is a dynamic, attacking playmaker. She played point guard on her high school team and has the ability to play 1-3.

"We look for her to really increase our athleticism and have an impact at the defensive end, which can hopefully lead to some of that attacking, aggressive offensive style of play, as well."