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In an 81-58 defeat over the Guelph Gryphons, the McMaster Women’s Basketball team has closed the first half of the regular season and will have some time away from the court before returning to play in January 2016.

McMaster welcomed Guelph, a division rival, to Burridge Gym for the last game at home before the holidays.

Saturday afternoon’s game between the two OUA Central division teams was one that slowly fell in favour of the McMaster Marauders.

McMaster led the Gryphons 24-15 after the end of the first period. Every period after that until the last buzzer played out was McMaster’s game.

McMaster was able to carry a 41-30 advantage into half time.

The third quarter opened with an 8-0 run and pushed the lead to 19 points.

The lead for the Maroon and Grey kept growing and the Marauders were allowed to close out the win at home.

McMaster’s top contributor was second-year guard Hilary Hanaka, who added 19 points on the board off the bench. Following closely after in points made was forward Clare Kenney with her best game of the year with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Danielle Boiago also claimed her own double double with 15 points and 10 boards.

The starting five and bench players were able to produce to come out with a great victory win over the Gryphons.

McMaster was able to score 36 points in the paint, while Guelph only had 18. The Marauders also capitalized on turnovers with 27 points and the Gryphons only answered with 16. While bench points have been relatively quieter for the team this season, McMaster’s bench was able to add 26 points for the final score sheet.

These kinds of numbers are great for a team that continues to see improvement.

The win moves McMaster to a record of 5-2, tying them with Guelph in the division. This win has also moved the team to the No. 5 position in the country after coming sixth in last week’s CIS Top Ten ranking.

McMaster is the second ranked team in Ontario in the country’s Top Ten list. Ryerson, currently claiming the No. 3 spot, has already played the Marauders. That game ended in a 64-74 loss to the Rams.

While ranking is telling of talent and calibre, the Marauders can not rule out the other teams in the province, considering they will have to go through them to reach their final destination at the OUA playoffs.

The young team has their eyes set on making it far this year and going into the holidays with a two-win streak is not a bad start.

The team will continue to train and prepare themselves for the twelve games left in the regular season.

The team hopes to cross off the games played in the 2016 calendar with more wins.

While that is weeks away, the winning mindset will be there in practice.

The holidays will be time spent for family, but training will still go on.

The time off away from competitive play will not mean time off from basketball.

The holiday recess for these student-athletes will be time for the players to polish their play and get ready for the second half of the season, where wins will matter more than ever before.

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