There are a lot of words you could use to describe the events of championship weekend: “almost,” “what if,” “I thought they had it.”
All phrases bound to surface in the upcoming weeks, all dripping with a different type of agony that comes from being close, only to fall short at the final hurdle.
The Ontario University Athletics semi-final with the Carleton Ravens was decided by just one point in a four-quarter thriller that came down to the Marauders’ final possession.
After trailing by 10 points late in the second, Mac charged back on the strength of OUA Player of the Year Danielle Boiago, who scored three straight shots from deep to open scoring in the third. Boiago finished with 26 points on the night, to go along with 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, a fitting end to her final weekend of OUA play.
By the start of the fourth Mac was still down one, but a run of quick fouls put them in the bonus with seven minutes remaining.
Down two with four minutes to go, a deep three from Mac’s second leading scorer Linnaea Harper put them back in the lead. What followed was three minutes of fast-paced play that saw Harper and Carleton stand-out Heather Lindsey exchange baskets until an offensive foul with 1:06 on the game clock caused Harper to foul out, leaving her to watch the remainder of the game from the sideline.
Neither team would capitalize in the following possessions, but a final turnover by Lindsey meant the Marauders would have the ball in their front court, in bonus, with 27 seconds left in the game. True to form, Carleton played their grittiest defense of the night, forcing Mac’s Rachael Holmes to settle for a deep three with time expiring.
The shot would miss the mark.
While the season may be over, and the hopes of lifting a Critelli Cup reserved for another year, it is only fair to salute the Marauders for the tireless grit and determination they displayed this season.
Carleton would go on to the play the top-ranked seed Queen’s in the final, besting them 49-41 in front of a sell-out crowd, and winning the OUA championship for the first time in their program’s history. Mac would be left to compete for bronze in a matchup against the Windsor Lancers for the second year in a row.
Mac was also left to play without third-year guard Erin Burns, who broke her collarbone in the final play against Carleton, and second-year guard Jelena Mamic, who went down with a head injury early and would not return until later in the game.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first-half, but Windsor would heat up in the third, going on a 10-0 run to start the quarter. Although Mac would cut the lead to four, Windsor’s offensive would be too much to handle as the Marauders fell 75-64.
The loss to Windsor would be the final game for seniors Boiago and Harper, who lead the team in scoring with 18 and 17 points respectively. Clare Kenney, Rachael Holmes and Vanessa Pickard also capped of their careers with Mac, posting strong performances in both games.
In the end, there are many words you could use to describe the weekend’s events. But there is also one that should not be overlooked: Proud.
What the Marauders were able to accomplish over the course of their 18-win season was nothing short of incredible. Not only did fans see a strong contingent of veteran players rally for one final shot at the title, they saw a team who weren’t afraid to play with their hearts on their sleeve, giving everything they had until the final buzzer.
While the season may be over, and the hopes of lifting a Critelli Cup reserved for another year, it is only fair to salute the Marauders for the tireless grit and determination they displayed all season.
It has been a pleasure rooting for you.