A different shade of Maroon and Grey was on court Friday against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
The Marauders’ walked into the Varsity Arena and put forth their strongest performance of the young season, notching their second victory with a 64-56 final score.
For majority of the game, McMaster looked like a confident offensive team. Vanessa Bonomo found teammates on the back door cut, Hailey Milligan dominated the paint, and Danielle Boiago got to the rim with ease. A full-court press gave Toronto’s inbounding player fits, forcing three straight turnovers early in the game.
Despite strong play, the Marauders only held a three-point lead going into the second quarter. Behind Stephanie Truelove’ s on-ball defense and taking limiting offensive rebounds, the Marauders held Toronto to two points in the second quarter. Two points is the lowest amount of points McMaster has allowed in a quarter this season.
Mac put 13 on the board themselves, finishing their finest half of the fall season with a 34-20 lead. McMaster rode an up-tempo offense to gas the Blues in the opening half.
The third quarter would turn into a track meet for both sides. Toronto wanted to run with McMaster after attempting to slow the game down in the first. The cross-conference foes traded fast break buckets, but Mac came out on top in the quarter by outscoring Toronto 19-18. Boiago would find her way to the hole on multiple occasions to buoy the Marauders’ offense.
But the attacking would disappear in the fourth, with a half-court trap troubling the Maroon and Grey’s ability to establish a rhythm. Poor entry passes to Milligan lead to easy layups and 2-on-1 plays for the Blues and Mac looked like they were giving the game away.
Head coach Theresa Burns called a timeout to rally the troops and strategize a way to break the trap. The Marauders milked the clock by swinging the ball around the court before dumping it into Milligan for close-range shot attempts.
As time started to wind down, Toronto shifted towards desperate basketball, fouling the Marauders often. Mac bricked their attempts, leaving points at the line and giving U of T hope.
But the Blues could not make anything out of McMaster’s cold shooting after forcing bad shots on offense and turning the ball over before the final buzzer sounded. The victory ends the four-game losing streak and puts Mac at 2-4 on the season.
Mac will face the Ryerson Rams tonight at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The Rams are coming off a defeat at the hands of the Brock Badgers.