Buzzer beater sends Marauders home with a loss

For the second straight time the McMaster women’s basketball team lost a game with under three seconds left to play, dropping a heart-breaking 78-75 decision to the Guelph Gryphons on Wednesday (Jan. 22).

(Photo: Rick Zazulak/McMaster Athletics)

(Photo: Rick Zazulak/McMaster Athletics)

Marlee Freeman’s desperation three-point shot with one second on the clock provided the margin of victory, after Mac’s Danielle Boiago had just tied the Ontario University Athletics game, which looked like it was headed to overtime.

McMaster came out flat on this frigid night in Guelph and allowed the Gryphons to take a 23-16 lead after the first quarter. Guelph’s strategy of double and triple-teaming Hailey Milligan in the post made it tough on the Marauder offense.

The second quarter saw McMaster pick up the pace and, behind Milligan, who still hit for 10 points and Isabel Ormond, who scored 11, the Marauders were able to come back and take a 40-38 lead into halftime.

The third quarter saw the Marauders extend the lead to 58-50, but playing at home the Gryphons displayed some good shooting and finished strong to get within a point, trailing 64-63 heading to the final period.

Building on the momentum from the third quarter, Guelph took the lead early in the fourth and the teams dueled for advantage for the rest of the period. With the score knotted at 71, the Gryphons scored the next two hoops to take a four-point lead at 75-71 with under 90 seconds to go. McMaster went inside to Milligan, who was fouled on her shot attempt. She drained her free throws to get within two with under a minute to play. Guelph had possession with under 30 second left and worked to get a clinching score, but McMaster came up with a steal and with one second remaining, Boiago hit a clutch jumper from the elbow to knot the score at 75-75.

Calling timeout to advance the ball, Guelph had time for a catch and shoot to win the game and Freeman’s heave after receiving the inbound pass banked in at the buzzer to win the game.

Milligan finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead McMaster, while Boiago scored 18 and Ormond 14 for the Maroon. Katherine MacTavish scored a game-high 21 for Guelph.

McMaster will try to end this two-game losing streak on Saturday (Jan. 25) when the tough Western Mustangs invade the Burridge Gym. Game time is 1 p.m. The game is part of the THINK PINK initiative with proceeds going to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.