The undefeated Brock Badgers proved too much for the Marauders on Thursday (Jan. 3), overcoming McMaster’s 10-point halftime lead to defeat the visitors, 75-64, in St. Catharines.
With the result, Brock improved to 8-0 in Ontario University Athletics ladies basketball conference play this season while McMaster fell to 3-5.
Veteran guard Vanessa Bonomo paced the Marauders offence, posting 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting and 3-for-5 from three-point range. Danielle Boiago, Stephanie Truelove and Hailey Milligan also entered double digits, with totals of 14, 13 and 10 points respectively.
Nicole Rosenkranz scored 19 points to pace the Badgers, while Kayla Santilli posted 18.
The visitors jumped to an early lead in a defensive first quarter, and finished the frame with an 18-13 advantage. McMaster continued to close out well in the second, and effectively stymied Brock on the defensive end as their lead swelled to a high of 11 points. That comfortable margin held into the interval, as the Marauders led the undefeated Badgers 39-29 at halftime.
Bonomo led the visitors with 11 points in the opening half, followed closely by Stephanie Truelove with 10.
The Badgers narrowed the gap to three points to begin the third quarter, as the Marauders struggled to recapture the organized defence that had built their lead in the opening half. The balance had tipped in the hosts’ favour, but McMaster retained their advantage nonetheless.
McMaster found itself in foul trouble as the quarter progressed, entering the bonus with four minutes remaining. But with the Marauders drawing fouls of their own, they began to reap rewards at the line. Boiago hit two free throws to make it a 51-46 game with 2:30 remaining left in the third, before Brock’s Annie McNeely answered with a bizarre three-pointer off glass to reduce the Badgers’ deficit to two.
The Badgers continued to press as the quarter came to a close, and it was only through tight defence that Rosenkranz missed a buzzer-beating shot to preserve a Marauders’ 52-51 lead after three.
The momentum that Brock had gained in outscoring McMaster 22-13 in the third quarter carried over into the fourth, as the Badgers took the lead early in the final frame. A three from Santilli gave the hosts a four-point margin at 58-54 and kicked off a fatal run. Jumpers courtesy of Samantha DeJong and Rosenkranz stretched the advantage to 10, a gap that the Marauders could not close.
McMaster threatened in the final three minutes, as Isabelle Ormond knocked down consecutive free throws to trim the deficit to six points at 70-64. But Brock soon answered through a Santilli triple and put the game effectively out of reach.
Forced to foul and settle for desperate shots from range in the late going, the Marauders could do little to battle back. Rosenkranz sealed the result for the home side, coming down with a defensive rebound and dribbling out the clock to end the game.
The Marauders are back in action on Saturday when Wilfrid Laurier visits the Burridge Gym for a 1 p.m. affair.