Scott Hastie

Assistant Sports Editor

 

This year’s playoff race is going to come down to a photo finish and Mac will be looking to come from behind.

After dropping a crucial game against the Western Mustangs, the Marauders will need to be near-perfect to grab a home playoff spot as they’re currently sitting two points behind Laurier and Western, who are tied for third. The next week will feature some of the most intense games the Marauders program has seen in years.“These are very critical games and we also want to make sure we’re playing consistently in this stretch to take us into playoffs,” said head coach Theresa Burns. “I thought that was happening until the wheels came off at Western.”

The Western game was the poorest showing of the season for McMaster, falling behind early due to a lack of defensive intensity. There were some bright spots however, with Clare Kenney posting a solid eight points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

Burns and her coaching staff could not nail down a reason for the blowout at Western, but the team is putting it behind them. A possible explanation for the struggle is a banged-up Danielle Boiago. The rookie is still battling a heel injury sustained in the Jan. 26 tilt against the Brock Badgers.

For the Marauders, having the final three games in the Burridge Gymnasium is a huge advantage.

“We play well at home, we like to play at home. I think our gym is a great atmosphere. We’ve got a noisy fanbase,” said Burns. “When you look at the teams we’re battling against, we probably have the most favourable schedule.”

The first step in reaching a home playoff spot will be beating the Waterloo Warriors, who the Marauders defeated on the road. Mac battled through a hot shooting first half from the Warrior guards and used rebounds to take over the game.

To get the wins, Burns pointed out some points of emphasis for the team.

“We need our key players to step up. Our starters have to do their jobs.”

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