Marauders enter it’s semi- finals tilt against Saskatchewan Huskies with the hopes of making history for program. The Marauders have been to nationals nine times, they have won two bronze medals never gold. The Huskies enter the semi- finals with the hopes of making it back to back national championship appearance after last year’s heartbreaking lost to Carleton Ravens. The Marauders in the end prevail to 73-66 victory making program history and led from start to finish. McMaster second- year guard, Sarah Gates had 21 points in the win.
McMaster got the game’s first points on basket by second-year guard Sarah Gates which would lead to an fury of points by the Marauders in the first quarter. They lead the game, 16-13 after the first quarter. The Marauders who are known for their great defense was able to force the turnovers in first quarter as they were second in OUA in turnovers per a game averaging 14.3.
Second quarter saw the Huskies get into their grove as they end up tying the game at half-time, 33-33 led by fourth-year guard, Megan Ahlstrom who had seven points in the first -half.
McMaster’s Gates after the first half led all scorers with 16 points. She scored 20 first- half points in Mac’s quarterfinals win over Concordia Stingers on Thursday.
Third quarter similar to first quarter saw McMaster get the quarter’s first points. The quarter like the second quarter was a bounce back affair between the two teams. With two minutes left in the quarter, the Marauders took control of the game with a fury of baskets led by Huskies turnovers. In first quarter, we owned the other team, I personally was confident and second- quarter, I had some doubt after we slowed down but that change after that huge run in third-quarter, I knew that we were good, “ McMaster Marauders fifth-place year forward, Linnae Harper.
Mac Head coach, Theresa Burns on the adjustments that were made in the second- half.
“We threw in little wrinkles as (Huskies) are skilled, talented team and once they get comfortable they can kill you. You have to keep them guessing,”.
The fourth quarter saw Huskies chipping away at Marauders lead and late in the game they were down four points which was the closest they came to tying the game.
For Saskatchewan Huskies, it was too many miss opportunities according to head coach, Lisa Thomaidis.
“ We had too many mental breakdowns which led to turn the ball over and them capitalize on easy ones. and we didn’t get any easier
Burns on her superstar performance from Gates.
“She has a nose for scoring rather it’s at the rim, put backs or deep three, her development and success is huge part of why this team has done what it has, “.
The Huskies on offense were led by third- year forward, Summer Masikewich who had a double- double with 21+12 rebounds in lost.
“I went in thinking if we want to win this game, I got to take it. I played with confidence and played my game but came up short,” she said
For coach, Thomaidis on the importance of Summer Masikewich.
“From first- year to third year she has risen to new dimension. Just looking forward to the next two years and where she can take her game from here,”.
This victory for McMaster Marauders was special one as in 1990 they made their first nationals appearance Toronto. They end up winning bronze medal beating Regina,76-72. The 1990 team sent leters to this current McMaster team on how incredible great experience they had.
“They made history tonight, this is best team McMaster ever had; Ontario Champions, gold or silver tomorrow, I’m so proud of them.
Burns is no stranger to national championship game as she won national championship as a player with Varsity Blues in 1986.
“ Best feeling your life as a athlete to reach the pinnacle of “get to the game, just enjoy the moment,”.