Meet Madalyn Weinert of Badgers women’s basketball

Photo by: Charlie Martin

It’s Saturday, Jan. 21 and the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team has just come up with a statement 69-62 win. Perhaps more accurately, the Badgers’ star guard Madalyn Weinert came up with a statement win for Brock. Playing the entire 40 minutes of the game, Weinert had a game-high 34 points on 57 per cent efficiency, a game-high five blocks, nine rebounds (second highest in the game), and an assist and a steal for good measure. In fact, her 20 points in the second half would have been good for the game-high (York’s highest scorer had 19 in the game).

This kind of dominance is not unfamiliar to Weinert this season. Saturday was Weinert’s eighth-straight game scoring in double-digits, a streak dating back to the Badgers’ last game against York in November. That November game is one of only two where Weinert wasn’t in double-digits. It’s also the only one where she didn’t lead the Badgers in scoring.

Weinert’s explosion has been good enough to net her fifth place in the OUA in points, seventh in rebounds, fifth in blocks and twelfth in field goal percentage, in addition to a bevy of awards this year, including three Brock Athlete of the Weeks, and most recently, an OUA Athlete of the Week.

A sophomore Medical Science student and a St. Catherine’s native, Madalyn Weinert has been the driving force behind this Badgers squad, though she’ll never admit it herself.  

I got a chance to sit down with one of the top sophomore players in Canada this week to discuss her torrid pace this season, changes in her roles and responsibilities, and life as a Brock student-athlete.

This interview has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

Luke Sweeney: I guess to start off, you’re just named Brock athlete of the week and an OUA athlete of the week, so pretty huge deal, especially coming off a big weekend.

Madalyn Weinert: Yeah, it was big and it’s exciting. It’s been a different season than we had last year, so that’s come with its own challenges and its own ups and downs. The team’s quite young this year, and I think how we’ve played and how we’ve shown how we can play against York and Carleton especially is just a testament to how the team is going to thrive in coming years. I’m really excited to continue to work with the same group of girls. I think that’s always a bonus, to be able to stick with a group for multiple years. That’s always beneficial to the team and to incoming girls, to have people to look up to and people to set a precedent.

LS: Well you’re talking about the differences in the team, and that’s kind of something I wanted to ask you about; obviously there’s a lot of turnover in the university basketball setting, so what are some of the biggest team developments you’ve seen since last year, as well as maybe some of your personal developments?

MW: In terms of the team, again we’re young. We lost a lot of senior leadership last year, which has opened the floor for younger girls like myself to be able to step into [those roles]—we’ve all stepped into those different roles in different ways, its all about learning every day. There’s multiple of us who’ve stepped up to try and fill in those roles. 

LS: Obviously, from a lot of different perspectives, you’ve been dealing with a lot of increased responsibility this year, so how have you been dealing with that, what’s that been like for you?

MW: So yes there’s been some additional responsibility, but I think it’s just learning to be ok, accepting the uncomfortable positions that you sometimes get put in. Something that you see at the beginning of the year is everyone always wants to have the same role they did last year, and it’s always tough to find that new role and excel in that role. I think that’s something that stuck with me. It’s so much easier to let the team handle it, and let other people deal with it, but when I start to get older and move through the program, there’re more responsibilities put on me, so I think it’s just stepping into a role where the team needs me next. It’s never about what’s best for me, but what’s best for the girls on the team and what’s best for the success of our team. 

LS: Yeah, and well, I have to say you’re doing a pretty stand-up job of leading the group. I mean, you’re fifth in the OUA in points per game, you’re shooting 41%, seventh in rebounds, 12th in assist, and even fifth in blocks, which is pretty outstanding because you’re a guard. What’s been the biggest key for you? What’s led to this?

MW: I think it’s just coming together as a team. If they don’t do their job, then I’m not in the position to have those blocks, to record those points, so it’s really been all about coming together as a team which has allowed me to play the role that I need to do on this team. It’s being in the gym every day for practice, for lift, being at Canada Games (Park) for individual practice. It’s all those little things. It’s when we’re able to have those team dinners and team lunches, it’s about bringing everyone together, and that opens up the opportunity for me to play well. If they don’t do their jobs, if they don’t participate and give it all they’ve got, then I don’t get those opportunities either. So, it just comes down to teamwork.

LS: Absolutely. Obviously from what you’ve been saying, there’s quite a lot of stuff that goes into keeping up with the varsity schedule, and I know you’re also a Med Sci student which obviously dictates a lot of work-life balance. So how do you maintain that when you’ve got the work, life but also the varsity sport to balance in there too?

MW: I think it’s just time management. Actually, well, it is just time management. It’s knowing that at night sometimes instead of sitting down to watch TV or scroll on your phone, you need to put in the hour of work. It’s knowing that during the day sometimes you’ve got to go sit in study hall or go sit in the library and not with your friends because you need to get something done. Its planning, focus, and time management. 

LS: Yeah, for sure. Again, I see you’re also from St. Catherine’s, which I’m sure is a big reason you’re at Brock, but were there any other things that drew you here?

MW:  Yeah so, I was from here, so that was definitely a draw to come to Brock. I’d kind of always wanted to be a doctor, and when my dad spoke with the cardiologist [at St. Catherine’s General], he’d done both his undergrad and his masters here. So, I knew that even if I chose Brock, there wasn’t going to be a disadvantage instead of going to a school that has a med school, so I think that gave me confidence in choosing Brock as well. 

LS: What are your favourite things about being a Brock student, an athlete at Brock, and also just an athlete on this team? 

MW: One of the things I love about Brock, even though it’s obviously growing, I feel like it’s smaller. I feel like there’s always people I’m saying hi to, and that I can have a conversation with. Oh, and I love how everything’s in the same building, that’s great. And then, as a student-athlete, I love the community that’s being able to be built amongst the athletes, coming out of last year, even with Covid still. I think this year, people have really got to know each other a little bit more, and it’s just fun to see different teams supporting each other. 

LS: Down the stretch, what’re you looking for from the team and from yourself?

MW: I’m really excited for the next couple weeks. Playoffs are coming so I think it’s a big push right now, every game matters. I’m super excited to see how we continue to work together, continue to get better every game. And for myself, keep doing what the team needs, anything the team needs is what I want to be focused on.

Weinert picked up right where she left off, leading the Badgers to a road win over Nipissing off the strength of a near-triple-double performance. Weinert had 11 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and a steal, while forward Olivia Fiorucci led the game in points with 15.

This weekend, the Weinert and the Badgers begin a two-game homestand at Bob Davis Gymnasium where they’ll take on University of Toronto on Friday, and Guelph on Saturday. Their full schedule and results can be found on their page. 

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