Sarah Gates lifts basketball team to win over York
Gates sets a new single-game scoring record to help the Marauders to their first home win of the season
The women’s basketball team played their first home game of the year on Nov. 11, defeating the York Lions 89-81. Backed by a record-setting 47 point night from senior guard Sarah Gates, the maroon and grey team snuffed out a late Lions rally and picked up their first win of the season.
Heading into the game, the Marauders were searching to fill their win column after two losses on their Ottawa road trip at the beginning of the year. The team’s narrow 66-68 defeat against the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Nov. 5 was followed up a day later with a blowout to the Carleton Ravens. On a 30.3 per cent field goal efficiency, including only nine out of 39 made attempts from beyond the arc, the McMaster University team fell to the Ravens 57-73.
Against York, the team was quick to pick up their offense, spearheaded by an eight point rally from Gates to cut ahead 23-13 at the end of the first. Lauren Golding and Cyanna King were dominant for the Lions, scoring 22 of their combined 24 second quarter points on nine for 12 shooting. Even with their efforts, the Marauders defense remained sharp, forcing six turnovers that led to eight converted points in the quarter.
With 20 points on eight for 11 shots, Gates helped put McMaster up 46-37 entering the half. Arianne Soriano added 12 points and two three pointers to aid the Marauders’ scoring charge.
Coming out of the break, the Lions struggled heavily from the field, missing 16 of their 21 shot attempts. The cold stretch allowed McMaster to take firm control of the contest, jumping out in front 69-48 after a difficult 11-point quarter from York.
In the final quarter, Gates absolutely commanded the court. She would net four three pointers while scoring McMaster’s last 18 points to finish the game.
“Our team feels like we’ve been together for years sometimes . . . When things click and we’re all having fun, it just feels like fun basketball. In those moments for everyone it just feels automatic,” said Gates.
Despite York’s 33 point comeback attempt in the fourth, the Marauders emerged victorious 89-81. Although they were outrebounded 30-44, McMaster’s 15 steals and consistent ball pressure were enough to limit the Lion’s end of game surge.
In a historic night, Gates finished the game with 47 points overall, topping her former career-high of 38 points set last year against Guelph on Nov. 13. The performance set a new single-game scoring record for McMaster, beating out Lindsay Degroot’s previous high of 38 points from 2008.
Averaging a league-best 30.8 points per game on a 54.1 per cent field goal percentage, the three-time Ontario University Athletics all-star has been sensational for the Marauders early on in the campaign. With this season marking Gates’ final year on the team, an extra championship title would be the perfect addition to her McMaster legacy.
“I want to win another national championship . . . I believe that our team has the potential to do it. We just gotta keep growing, keep learning from our mistakes throughout the season so we can peak at the right time,” said Gates.
Pitching in with an all-around performance, Soriano finished with a line of 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Her game-high four steals helped to lock up the Lion’s ball handlers, who committed 23 turnovers on the night.
On the opposition’s side, Golding finished the game with a line of 31 points and 10 rebounds. Also securing a double-double, King chipped in with 24 points while pulling down 16 rebounds for the Lions.
With their win against York, the Marauders showcased their abilities as one of the league’s best offensive teams. Making the second most threes per game while maintaining the third best field goal percentage, McMaster’s efficiency and outside shooting presence has played a key role in their early season scoring successes.
Going forward, the team can continue to work on the defensive end of the ball. Ranking third last in personal fouls and points allowed per game, improvement in these areas will make the Marauders a true force in the league and complement their elite offensive talent led by Gates’ devastating scoring abilities.