Photos C/O Noah Hoffman
By: Graham West
Christina Buttenham was one of the newest additions to the women’s basketball team this year, and her presence on the court was immediately felt by the Marauders. Buttenham is an experienced player with a great veteran presence, having transferred from the University of Iowa earlier this year, where she played National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball for three seasons.
After playing basketball for the Hawkeyes, Buttenham felt a loss of desire to play the game. However, after deciding to come to Mac, she felt a renewed drive to play for the Marauders, mostly due to the fact that she is from Hamilton and already knew many of the players on the team.
Her decision to transfer turned out to be a great decision as she felt really comfortable on the team all season, eventually going on to win the U Sports National Championship in Buttenham’s first year in maroon.
“I think the style of play was very fitting, and also knowing a lot of girls who already played there,” Buttenham said. “When I came from Iowa, I didn’t even think I wanted to play at all anymore, but I went to a couple of games and I really enjoyed watching. I started missing it again, which I think really helped a lot and made me want to play again for Mac. Also being close to home was a big factor.”
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For Buttenham, it was a smooth transition coming to Ontario University Athletics from Iowa as the Marauders’ more fast-paced style of play was one that better-suited Buttenham’s capabilities. However, getting used to the exact flavour of OUA basketball did take some time as she had to readjust from its American counterpart.
“Coming back here it’s a lot more fast-paced, a lot more transition and making different reads, setting up screens and just kind of playing off of one another,” Buttenham said. “I find it more enjoyable down here and I think that’s because I grew up playing this style of basketball.”
“I think mentally, it was a harder transition for me just to get back into how I used to play basketball before I went away,” Buttenham added. “But the team was really patient, and the coaches were great, and I think they helped [me] so much in getting game-ready to play again.”
Buttenham was a key addition to the Marauders’ championship run, especially being a seasoned player with a diverse resume. In their championship win over Laval University, Buttenham was named Player of the Game, stuffing the stat sheet with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks and four steals.
— U SPORTS Basketball (@USPORTS_Bball) March 11, 2019
Having previously known many of the players on the team, Buttenham was a perfect fit for the team chemistry and consistently had a major impact on the court even leading up to the Finals.
“It was amazing, especially having the national tournament at Ryerson [University], and only being about an hour away, we basically had a home crowd and it was amazing playing in front of them,” Buttenham said. “They were so helpful in us winning, that I think that whenever we would have lulls on the court, they brought us energy. Being able to win and then coming back home and getting to celebrate with all of your friends who were at the game was really exciting.”
Taking the tournament by storm, team culture was one of the key factors in their championship success. As is the case with most championship teams, team chemistry extends beyond the court.
“… [T]his is the best culture and the best team I’ve ever been a part of,” Buttenham said. “They’re so goofy, and who we are off the court definitely helps us so much on the court, and we care about one another and we’re all great friends. Even now, we’re still texting in the group chat about how much we miss each other.”
— U SPORTS Basketball (@USPORTS_Bball) March 7, 2019
The women’s basketball team is one of the most revered teams here at Mac, boasting a top-notch coaching staff with incredible players. Even though a few key pieces of the championship team will be graduating this year, the team is always one that can do major damage on the court. The Marauders will certainly be a team to watch as they will try to defend their title, and bring home back-to-back national championships.