Looking Forward: 1970-2000
The strength of Western's program continued into the 1970s. This was also a decade of change for women’s athletics in the province. The Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WIAU) became the Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Association (OWIAA) which opened up the playing field as the league now included thirteen universities instead of six. During the first decade of play in the new league, Western won three championships in 1971-72, 1972-73 and 1973-74.
The 1973-74 season stands as a particular high note for the end of a very successful decade and a half of women’s basketball – the team was undefeated in league play and won the OWIAA championship tournament on home turf at Western.
The 1980s were marked by instability for the program. After the departure of Mary Riezebos as head coach in 1985, “Western’s forgotten team” had several part time coaches. The hiring of Cheryl Kryluk in 1987 as a full-time coach and faculty staff member was a measure to break the inconsistency of coaching staff, and was intended to make the program competitive again. The results were almost immediate – by the end of the 1988-89 season the team had completely reversed their results from the previous season from a 3-11 record to an 11-3 record, and took a fourth place finish at the OWIAA championship.
In 1997, under coach Bob Delaney, the Western women ended a perfect season with a bronze medal finish at the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union championship.