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Some of us like to catch up on sleep over the winter break. Others like to do everything they possibly can before the hectic schedule rolls around again in the new year. For the 16 woman roster of the McMaster Women’s Basketball team, the break was a little different.
Just two days after Christmas, the group took a trip to Quebec City to take part in the Laval Invitational Tournament.
“We had quite the training during exams knowing the opponents we had scheduled for the Laval tournament were three top 10 teams. So, going into that we were preparing for a high level of competition,” said Anne Marie Thuss, interim head coach.
In the four days spent in Quebec City, the team had a busy schedule of three games in three days. They were there strictly for business.
Despite the high level of play, the schedule allowed a lot of time for recovery. The teams had shoots in the morning, watched video and had meetings. Games took place in the afternoon so there was time for a solid meal and enough rest at night.
The first day of competition was a match up between the McMaster Marauders and the McGill Martlets.
The Marauders, currently placed seventh in the country fought ‘til the end with the country’s third best.
McMaster started the first game of the tournament strongly, but both teams remained neck-and-neck for most of the three quarters. The team’s efforts ultimately did not end in a win as McGill was able the take the game 65-55.
Captain Danielle Boiago finished with sixteen points and was the lead scorer for the squad.
McMaster’s second game was against Laval, who currently hold the sixth spot in the country’s top 10 rank. McMaster held an 11-point lead until the final quarter of the game. It was a difficult fourth quarter and Laval won the game at the buzzer with a layup and a final score of 69-68.
Once again, Boiago led the score sheet with 17 points and five assists, while guard Hilary Hanaka scored 14 points of her own.
The last game of the tournament was against another competitor in the OUA, the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
McMaster could have come back to Hamilton with one win under their belt as they held a 21-point lead at the half.
The second half wasn’t as easy for the Marauders as they scored only three points in the third quarter. Ottawa knocked down a buzzer-beating bucket that sealed the fate taking a 63-61 victory.
Siobhan Manning led the Marauders with 13 points and Andrea Polischuk added nine boards.
The last two games did not see a healthy roster play due to some injuries.
“We had a few injuries so when we had the injuries, the last two teams took advantage of our small size.”
With the team back and healthy, the losses hold learning lessons for the group as they are bouncing back from the holiday losses.
“I think the biggest thing we got out of it is that we are capable of it. We are capable of being up on these teams and learning the next step is to just keep pushing,” said Thuss.
The team continues to believe in the process and started 2016 on a positive note as they defeated the Waterloo Warriors 86-40 on Wednesday night.
The Marauders hope to continue their winning streak as they face the Laurier Goldenhawks on Saturday.
The first home game of the year happens on Wed, Jan. 20, as the Marauders welcome the Windsor Lancers to Burridge. The Lancers have been the CIS Women’s Basketball champions for the last five years.
“It wasn’t the best way to finish 2015, but those were very valuable games because we have our end goal in mind. The process is what we are focusing on. That’s the biggest part and going forward, we’ll be better each game. We’re looking to be one percent better each time,” said Thuss.
Photo Credit: Jon White/Photo Editor