The McMaster women’s basketball team took advantage of a short-handed group of Guelph Gryphons and brought home an 81-51 playoff victory to advance to the Ontario University Athletics West Division semi-finals.
With two members of the rotation out with injuries, Guelph could only bring 11 players to Hamilton to try and pull the upset.
The game started well for the Gryphons as Marlee Freeman drained a three-pointer to go up 3-0, but it was downhill from there as McMaster went on an 11-0 run to grab an early cushion and by the end of the first quarter, Mac was in front 27-10. Marauder Danielle Boiago was hot from beyond the arc and made three treys of her own and a long two to pace the attack.
In the second stanza Guelph switched to a zone defense, which helped slow down the Marauders. The Gryphons scored three unanswered hoops to cut the deficit to 27-16 and forced Mac to call a timeout. From that point on the Marauders would outscore the Gryphons 21-4 and headed into the intermission with a commanding 48-20 lead.
The third quarter saw Mac bump the lead up to 30 at 59-29, allowing Marauder coach Theresa Burns to go deep into her reserve players. With the Marauders spreading out the minutes, Guelph was able to bring the deficit down to 64-41 heading into the final 10 minutes.
McMaster came out full throttle to start the fourth quarter, going on a 15-2 scoring run that opened up the biggest lead of the game at 79-43. With all 12 Marauders getting some playing time, Guelph showed some fatigue but finished the game playing hard until the final buzzer.
The Marauders shot the ball very well this night, making 49% of their shots, including a sizzling 10 of 17 from 3-point land. They also out-rebounded Guelph by 40 to 33.
Individually, Boiago finished with 17, making 5 of her 7 three-point shots to grab BIG MAC player of the game honours. Hailey Milligan extended her streak of double-double games to 12 with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Isabel Ormond with 12 and Rachael Holmes with 10 hit double figures. Guelph’s Alex Beatty paced the Gryphons with 10.
The win advances McMaster to the OUA West semi-finals Saturday (Feb. 23) at Brock, where the second-place Badgers got to enjoy a first-round playoff bye. The semi-final tips off at 1 p.m.