Marauders hang tough
In the past week, McMaster has taken on the best and the worst of the OUA West. The results were as expected – a loss against the best and a win against the worst. But the margin in those games is what will come as a surprise to Marauder fans. McMaster took on the No. 3 Windsor Lancers, a team undefeated and cruising through their OUA competition. Their fortunes would change when they entered Burridge Gym, as Mac would put on a defensive clinic. Windsor was held to a 28.6 per cent field goal percentage, their lowest shooting percentage of the season. However, the visiting team would prevail 56-48 behind Jessica Clemencon’s 24 points and ten-rebound performance. Mac would find their way back into the win column on Saturday, taking on the winless Waterloo Warriors. The Black and Gold were a banged-up squad, with their three most-senior players not dressing for the game. Mac would play down to their competition’s level, heading into the half with only a 36-29 lead. Coach Theresa Burns’ halftime speech would inspire her troops to perform to their capabilities, with the game ending in a 70-54 result. The common factor in both of McMaster’s wins was forward Hailey Milligan, who averaged a double-double over the two games. “Hailey continues to step up and show consistency and be able to provide what we need from a veteran post,” said Burns of the fourth-year athlete. “She’s come back from Christmas break and she’s just solid, providing leadership on and off the court.” As Burns alluded to, Milligan has stepped into her own following the winter break and one of her finest weeks as a Marauder. The 6-3 English major went toe-to-toe with Clemencon, one of the finest big-men in the CIS. Milligan posted 11 points and 15 rebounds against the Lancers. But the forward truly made her mark in the game against Waterloo, dropping 18 points and grabbing 13 boards. Beyond those totals are two more telling statistics: eight offensive rebounds and 8-10 free throw shooting. Milligan has embraced her role on the team and relished her opportunity to be the offensive focal point in the past week. But Burns also credits the overall play of her team as a reason for the recent success. “We’re getting different play out of different people,” said the head coach. Abby Hurd is a player who Burns pointed to as elevating their play as of late. The second-year guard’s tenure in Maroon and Grey has never been able to truly get off the ground due to injuries, but since returning from an early season injury, Hurd has become a major component of the Mac bench mob. With just over half of the 2012-2013 campaign complete, McMaster has the playoffs on their mind. “We want a home playoff spot,” Burns says of the expectations for the team’s finish. At 6-8, McMaster has an uphill climb ahead of them. The home playoff spot will be a difficult get, with the OUA West being as close as it is. But if the performances of 2013 are a sign of things to come, the Marauders are more than capable of being in a position to host a playoff game in the Burridge Gymnasium.