Red hot McMaster women’s basketball team heads into playoffs with unfinished business
Coming off a big season with five key graduating members, the sense of urgency has kicked in for a team hungry to wreak havoc
The Marauders women’s basketball officially ended their season with 16 wins and five losses, but are coming off a streak of 15 wins in their last 17 games, and have only gotten better as time has passed. Their final two games of the season proved the capabilities of the team, showcasing their talents.
The Marauders downed the Waterloo Warriors on Feb. 17 in a 20-point victory and the Toronto Varsity Blues on Feb. 18 in the way of a 21-point victory. Sarah Gates and Jenna Button played a key role in these victories, Button putting up 25 points, and Gates putting up 36 (23 at half) against UofT. Gates, McMaster’s single game points record holder and all time points record holder, also put up 41 against the Warriors.
“Both of those games were such solid team wins. Everyone got on the floor [and] contributed in some way. When our team is working so well together, it’s easy individually to succeed, and we saw that. . . This is the perfect bounce back from our TMU loss from a couple weekends ago. We use it as a motivator going into the playoffs, and a reminder that we can’t take our foot off the gas,” said Gates.
Gates has been the team centerpiece all season long, having led all of Canada in points per game, even having surpassed the next leading scorer by nearly 5 PPG, but she wasn’t the only member of the team to find the national leaderboards, as Mia Spadafora led the nation in three point percentage.
“I’m so proud of Mia, that’s something that she’s been striving for. We’ve all known that she’s an amazing shooter. I think that seeing this statistic helps her really believe it, and going into the playoffs, that’s huge. . . It’s really awesome seeing both of us up there,” explained Gates.
The team has been firing on all cylinders lately, but that comes after a somewhat spotty start to the season where they only won once in their first four matchups. However, those games may have proven to be some of the most valuable to the team, especially having come to early on.
“We’ve been on such a good rise. Even in those first games, I know they were losses, but we were learning, growing each game. I think it’s something that our team has been doing so well with regardless of the score at the end of the game. . . That shift in our mindset will give us a great advantage going into the playoffs. We’re ready, we’ve growth throughout this season,” said Gates.
The success for the team comes as a big deal in what was an extremely quick rebuild turnaround for the team. After what was expected to be a down year in 2021-2022, the team still managed to finish with 10 wins and seven losses, surpassing what most expected of them. Despite having provided some resistance in the playoffs, they were eliminated in their second round matchup. The team has been working to improve on that ever since, and their regular season record suggests the realism in that goal.
“Last year [people] thought it was a rebuilding year, we were doing really well but didn’t quite get that outcome towards the end of playoffs. That sucked in the moment, but it was such a fuel to the fire going into a huge offseason. . . It was the discipline and motivation that we had in the offseason that kept us rolling this year. It’s unfinished business,” explained Gates.
The team will kick off their playoff run on Feb. 25 in Burridge Gym, at home against the Guelph Gryphons. Their last matchup against the 17 win and six loss Gryphons resulted in a final score of 82-73, in favor of the Gryphons on Nov. 30, so it should be a very competitive matchup.