For the last two seasons, Hayley McDonald led the offence of the Acadia Axewomen, and saw the roster peak with back to back 2018 and 2019 AUS Gold Medals. Now though, a new season is set to begin, and the Axewomen appear to have a worthy successor to McDonald ready to take over.
In the 2019-20 season, Jayda Veinot made herself known. Hitting 51.4/44.4/94.3, Veinot’s efficiency stood out as the second scoring option behind Haley McDonald. Len Harvey, Acadia Axewomen’s head coach, has made clear though, his goal is to move Veinot off the ball more this season. An exceptional 3-point shooter, shooting 44.4 per cent from behind the arc in 2019-2020, the opportunity lends itself to a greater chance fo increasing Veinot’s offensive output.
“So it’s kind of my dream. It’s always been a thing; I never really wanted to be a primary ball-handler. I always wanted to be a two or a three to play a bit more off-ball,” Veinot said. “Even as we’re just getting started right now, I’m thrilled to be off-ball to be able to instead of initiate an offence, to have people get things going and then maybe by the time it gets to me, there’s always a bit of an advantage. I’m really excited for that change in role.”
What stands out about Veinot’s scoring is her efficiency. In the 2019-20 season, six players averaged over 17 points per game. Veinot was one of them, but she took three fewer shots per game to reach that scoring clip. It is clear Veinot is more than capable of scoring at a prolific level. Now becoming the first option, Veinot could potentially lead the league in scoring.
“I think that part of my role is to be a scorer, I think it’s definitely something you aspire to do but, if the balls moving and everyone’s scoring, (I’ll do) whatever it takes for the win,” Veinot said.
Acadia has achieved a lot of success. Winning AUS championships in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, Harvey knows how to coach his team to a championship level. After making the finals and losing to UPEI, Harvey is excited for this new group of players.
“I like that they don’t have some of the baggage that’s left behind from, whether it’s a loss or a win; both of those can be positive and negative. I like that they’re coming in trying to kind of establish their own thing,” Harvey said.
Harvey said his freshman are ready to be great in the league as there will be the acceptance of new roles. The team can score by committee, and it has always been about the team for Harvey’s Axewomen. Veinot will step into her new role, but her teammates are also ready to do the same.
“I think you’re going to see a lot more players willing to do that (initiate the offence) right away and, whoever’s on the floor, I think we’ll have three or four players who can get us into offence. That’s exciting too. It’s a fun problem for me to have to sort out,” Harvey said.
The Acadia Axewomen will begin a new era in 2021-2022, as the leader of their offence moves on, but with a fresh crop of new faces ready to step forward, and a familiar one ready to step up, it should be another strong season on the court in Wolfville.
COVER PHOTO: Ryan Taplin/SaltWire