The Varsity Blues women’s basketball team entered a matchup on Friday night against the McMaster Marauders following a loss to the Brock Badgers on February 3. The Marauders, who are first in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Central Division, promised to be another tough opponent for the Blues. The Marauders’ star guard Sarah Gates, who leads the OUA in points with a whopping 26.1 per game — seven more than the runner up guard Ariane Saumare of the Western Mustangs — proved to be a worthy opponent and challenge for the Blues defense. 

What happened

The Blues opened the game quickly with a three pointer from guard Ellen Ougrinov and didn’t look back throughout the first quarter. They were able to keep up with the Marauders’ elite offense and keep the game close for the entirety of the quarter. The game was played at a high pace, which benefited the Marauders, as they are second in the OUA in points per game. However, with six steals, the Blues forced them into turnovers early and had a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to a buzzer-beating layup from guard Charlotte Church.

The Marauders tied the game up at 24 early in the second quarter with quality defense, which gave the Blues an offensive edge. With 7:29 left in the first half, Gates picked up her second foul and went to the bench, which seemed to be an opening for the Blues to extend their lead. 

Unfortunately, the opposite occurred, as the Marauders were able to get open shot after open shot with good ball movement, creating a 10–0 run. The Blues were able to regain some momentum after a steal from guard Faith Joseph led to a layup by guard Lauren Boers, but they still went into the half down by 12. After scoring 24 points in the first quarter, the Blues only mustered six in the second, allowing the Marauders to soar away with the lead. 

The Marauders remained hot coming out of halftime and extended their lead to 21 just six minutes into the second half. The Blues continued to struggle throughout the third quarter and shot just 17.6 per cent from the field. They entered the fourth quarter down 63–45 with the Marauders controlling the game thanks to great team play — evidenced by their 14 assists in the third quarter. In the end, the Marauders’ offense proved too much for the Blues’ defense to handle, and the game ended with a final score of 88–57 for Marauders. 

After the game, in an interview with The Varsity, Blues forward Sabrina Nero talked about how hard the team had been working for this matchup, saying that they “had the game plan all week.” 

What’s next

The Blues took another loss against the Waterloo Warriors on February 11 in their last home game of the season. The Blues match up with the Marauders again on February 18.