It may only be preseason, but the McMaster Marauders women’s basketball team is not taking any game lightly.
Through two exhibition tournaments and one exhibition, the Mac ladies have put together solid performances despite being a relatively young team.
The first game of the preseason was against Algoma University, a team set to join OUA action in the 2013-14 athletic season. McMaster won the game handily, 83-46.
The game was a healthy mix of defense and offense from the Maroon and Grey, featuring a 23-4 score in favour of Mac after the first quarter.
The team is learning how to play without one of it’s biggest parts, as Taylor Chiarot, a former OUA All-Star, graduated from Mac and earned a pro basketball contract with a German club.
The transition from the Chiarot era has been smoothed over by rookie Danielle Boiago, who has already earned the honour of McMaster’s female Athlete of the Week. Boiago, a homegrown Hamilton student-athlete, has strung together standout performances throughout the preseason and is an early candidate for the OUA Rookie of the Year.
Boiago & Co. represented McMaster at the Darcel Wright Memorial Classic tournament, hosted by Ryerson University at their new athletic centre.
The Marauders kicked off tournament play against the Saskatchewan Huskies. Despite an early first half lead, the Marauders battled through a 17-point deficit to challenge the Canada West opponent, but fell at the hands of the Huskies 73-63.
Veteran Heather Milligan put together a solid game, with 15 points and seven rebounds, but it was Boiago’s performance that jumps off the box score.
The point guard dropped 30 points on a staggering 17-32 shooting performance, which also included 4-8 shooting on three pointers.
The next game was a strong collective defensive performance by the team, forcing the Ryerson Rams into 32 turnovers. Milligan put her mark on the game in the paint, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds to aid McMaster to victory over the tournament hosts.
In the fifth-place match, the Marauders met a strong Brock Badgers squad, whose defensive intensity resulted in the Maroon and Grey posting a 31.6 per cent field goal percentage.
In the fourth quarter, the Badgers brought the offense, scoring 25 points to seal the victory.
McMaster’s Milligan would again be a standout player for the Marauders scoring 23 points and hauling in 16 rebounds, while Boiago offset a tough shooting day with 12 points coming from free throws.
This past weekend the Marauders hit the road and headed to Laval to take on a mix of teams from across Canada in another exhibition tournament.
After defeating the University of Prince Edward Island and York University, Mac met the tournament hosts in the final game.
The final saw a continuation of a common theme for the Marauders’ victories this season, with defense leading the Marauders to victory over the Rouge et Or.
The Marauders were able to shut down the Laval offense, which held the Quebec team to an ugly 27 per cent field goal percentage.
It was the same names leading the charge for McMaster, with Milligan and Boiago leading the scoring charge yet again.
McMaster’s preseason action continues over the weekend, where the Marauders will play two more non-conference opponents.
First, on Thursday Oct. 25, the women will host the University of Victoria, the opening home game of the 2012 season and it will tip off at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, Oct. 28, McMaster hosts Mount Royal University, from Alberta. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.