The Blues deliver a home-turf victory to an excited Saturday night crowd. COURTESY OF HENRY ZHAO/VARSITY BLUES

After a slow start to the season, the Varsity Blues women’s basketball team came out hungry for a win on November 30 — and it showed. The Blues were the clear underdogs in their second match against the defending national champions, the McMaster University Marauders, but they fought hard until the last quarter to secure their second win of the season before heading into the second month of their season.

Early on during the first quarter, Blues forward Nada Radonjic got off to a hot start, marking the beginning of a streak that led to a stellar game-high of 22 points. The Marauders were not letting up easily though, and the score stayed close until the end, with expert offensive plays by Sarah Gates, a guard for the opposing team.

Despite their aggressive approach, McMaster kept shooting long and missing, and participated in rough plays that eventually led to their forfeiture of the win. Toronto scored big points off of multiple free throws, especially into the second quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, Toronto secured their lead after an unsportsmanlike call against McMaster, leading to two successful free throw shot by guard Samantha Robertson. With a 56–46 leading going into the final quarter, the Blues held on tight until the end for the win.

Although the Blues kept their heads down and fought to their winning finish, they had issues keeping possessions on rebounds, giving the Marauders undeserved second chances throughout. Luckily, a series of three-pointers from the likes of Radonjic and guard Ellen Ougrinov kept the Marauders on their toes.

Blues standouts on the court included forward Sarah Bennett, who had a big night on the boards, racking up 15 points, 14 rebounds, and one assist to help the team to victory. Robertson came in hot in the second half to pick up where Radonjic tapered off in the first, tallying an impressive 15 points herself.

The Toronto bench made an excellent job of cheering the team on, rivalling even the crowd’s enthusiasm. The nail-biting finish saw Toronto rack up a total of four points for the season so far, and snag the fifth place in the Ontario University Athletics Central division.

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