The No. 2 McMaster Marauders defeated the No. 7 Concordia Stingers 86-68 during the U SPORTS Women’s Basketball quarter-final on Thursday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
McMaster’s Sarah Gates put up a career high of 32 points to help defeat the Stingers.
It was a strong start for the Concordia Stingers as they opened the scoring and continued to advance down the court. Although, McMaster quickly overtook the match with quick passes and three-point shooting. When the Stingers took control, the Marauders recovered well and drove to the net. At the end of the first quarter, the Marauders were up 26-19 over the Stingers.
In the second quarter, the Marauders saw accuracy and completion in their plays as Concordia missed out on a number of opportunities. Notably, Gates totaled 12 points in the second half, pushing the Marauders ahead of the Stingers. they took a 16 point lead, 44-28, into halftime.
“For a second-year player, being able to score the way (Gates) does is really incredible and when you think that we have her for three more years, and she is only going to get better, is pretty outstanding,” said Marauders head coach Theresa Burns.
“She breaks games wide open for us, and if you don’t protect the deep ball, she is going to shoot a deep ball on you, but she is also strong enough to get herself to the rim. She just has a nose to win, plain and simple.”
The Marauders continued to attack, leading the Stingers into the third quarter. They performed well down low and were able to set up a number of plays with effective passing, until they lost slight momentum that the Stingers capitalized on.
Concordia made changes to their offence and pushed past the Marauders defence to minimize the gap. But McMaster’s Linnaea Harper made two three-pointers at the end of the third quarter to keep the Marauders ahead, 71-54.
The Marauders were overcommitting to the play in the fourth and as a result, the Stingers started to take control to minimize the gap once again. After a huge block by McMaster’s Christina Buttenham (Hamilton, Ont.), the Marauders received new energy that they needed to hold off the Stingers, and cap off their strong offensive performance.
“For us, everything was a little too late. Especially when you’re playing with a team that has National experience,” said Concordia head coach Tenicha Gittens. “So just being at Nationals and getting to this stage kind of got to us today. But we will be back, trust me.”
The Marauders will look to play the winner of the Acadia and Saskatchewan game later this afternoon. Last year at Nationals McMaster lost in the consolation semifinal.
“We’re really happy with our team room right now. We are obviously happy, but they think don’t think they played their best today. They think there is still a lot more to come, which I like,” said Burns.
“We would be lying if we didn’t say we were chasing a gold medal. We wanted a conference gold medal, we would love a national medal. You’re playing some of the top teams in the country, it’s a tall task. But we’re up for the challenge and we’re glad to have the opportunity.”
Players of the Game
- McMaster: Sarah Gates
- Concordia: Caroline Task