The McMaster women’s basketball team snapped a two-game losing skid in Ontario University Athletics with a 63-50 win over the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks. The game saw two Marauders’ team records broken – one career and one single season – courtesy of Hailey Milligan and Danielle Boiago.
Boiago was hot from the start of the contest and helped McMaster jump out to a 7-0 lead off the tip. The Mac lead went to 10 at 15-5, but Laurier recovered somewhat and closed the gap to 20-14 by the end of the first quarter.
But the Hawks had all the energy at the start of the second quarter, scoring the first four baskets to grab their first lead of the game at 22-20. The women in Maroon quickly tied the game and swung the momentum by outscoring Laurier 12-5 the rest of the quarter to take a 34-27 lead at the half.
The first record came midway through the second quarter when Milligan grabbed her eighth rebound to pass former great Chiara Rocca as McMaster’s all-time OUA rebound leader.
Laurier came into the game fighting for second in the OUA West, which provides a playoff bye and favourable seeding looking down the road. McMaster had its own motivation as it is trying to secure a top-four finish and homecourt for the opening playoff round.
Boiago opened the third quarter with her third three-pointer of the game to open a 10-point lead, but Laurier chiseled the margin to five at 44-39 forcing McMaster to call timeout. By the end of the third, the lead stood at 49-42 with Mac in front.
The fourth quarter saw McMaster open on a 7-0 run to open its biggest lead of the game at 56-42. Included in the barrage was Boiago’s fourth trey of the game, giving her 42 three-balls made for the season, which sets a Marauder single-season record.
The Marauder defense was stout this night, forcing Laurier to go deep into the shot-clock and causing several violations. The Hawks got within 10 with three minutes to go, but that was as close as they got as McMaster closed out the 63-50 victory.
Boiago finished with 24 points to lead the Mac scoring parade, while Milligan chipped in 13 and grabbed a mammoth 20 rebounds. Laurier was paced by Whitney Ellenor with 12 points.
The win guarantees McMaster fourth-place in the OUA West meaning the Marauders will host a first-round playoff game against either Brock or Lakehead on Feb. 19th. The loss drops Laurier into a tie with Western for second place behind Windsor and the Hawks will play the Mustangs this Saturday to decide who gets the bye.
The Marauders wrap up conference play on Saturday (Feb. 15) versus Waterloo, and the team will honour its five graduating seniors in a post-game ceremony. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.