Women's basketball team ends 2021 on an excellent note
C/O McMaster Sports
The women’s basketball team hits the ground running in the first month of play
As many McMaster students have become used to seeing, the women’s basketball team is once again finding themselves in the midst of a strong season. Despite a fairly inexperienced roster full of athletes making their university debuts, the team went into the winter break with a record of five to one, their only loss having come to the Guelph Gryphons.
Through the course of the season it has become very obvious that the Marauders have done a great job at playing team basketball, which has played a big part in their success. They regularly beat the opposing teams in assists by wide margins, and commonly find themselves sharing the load when it comes to scoring. It isn’t uncommon for the team to have several scorers bunched up around the leading individual point totals.
With such a young team, it’s rare to find such strong chemistry so early on, but according to forward Amy Stinson, that’s exactly what the team has been able to create.
“This year is very special for us. We have a lot of new girls, it’s a big new group. Going into the season in November we were really finding our chemistry, so as [games] went on, we were learning more and more about each other and our strengths . . . We were confident in each other and we were confident in ourselves,” said Stinson.
Stinson, a jack of all trades, frequently finds herself making a difference in the box score, whether it be by way of scoring, rebounding, or anything else. Stinson discussed the importance of being an all around player and how much focus she puts on scoring compared to all else.
“I like to look at the little things, like positioning on defence, rebounds, assists. It’s the stuff I look at when I [evaluate] my all around game. I’m happy with what I’ve been doing, but I think there’s a lot more I can do,” said Stinson.
Through the season Stinson has become a fairly consistent scoring option for the team, regularly finding herself among the teams top scorers. Despite this, she stressed that scoring isn’t actually a major focus in her game and is rather something that just comes as a result of the way the team has played.
“Scoring has actually never been something I’ve made a priority and I think that’s why I’ve had this success I’ve had this season; I don’t put much pressure on myself. I find that when I’m just in the game and playing for my teammates, sometimes it’ll just come,” explained Stinson
This season Stinson and [Sarah] Gates have been the only players on the team to find themselves scoring double digits on multiple occasions. Despite sharing this achievement, Stinson considers Gates to be on a whole different level.
“Sarah [Gates] is just another story, she’s just [incredible] . . . To her that stuff just comes naturally because she’s just outstanding,” said Stinson.
After several strong performances in November, Gates was named the Ontario University Athletics female player of the month, putting up a league leading 25.5 points per game while shooting to a 52.6 per cent field goal percentage, accompanied by per game averages of 7.7 rebounds, two assists and two steals while shooting 38.6 per cent from three point range.
“It was my first time ever getting that award, so it was really nice! I was a little bit shocked to get it, but honestly, this will sound pretty cliche, but that’s not my focus. My focus is just to get to that national level and compete from there. We have the team to do it . . . I just see good things to come,” said Gates.
Gates, despite her own consistently strong performances, praised the efforts of her team, suggesting that they are going against the grain in what is stereotypically a “rebuilding year” in university sports.
“We have such a unique group this year, especially since it’s such a young team. The amount of work ethic and drive our team has is pretty awesome . . . When so many new [players] are coming in, people usually say it’s a rebuilding year. I wouldn’t say that — we’re definitely really good. I like being the underdog and we’ll take that to our advantage," explained Gates.
One of the most notable games of the season was against the Gryphons on Nov. 13. After losing by a 28 point spread on Nov. 10, the team was able to refocus and pick themselves up before their next game on Nov. 13. Gates paved the way, having scored 38 points while shooting 67 per cent from the field and from three. She also put up 11 rebounds and five assists in the redemption game, which the Marauders would win by a final score of 74-70.
Gates suggested that the loss was just a part of being a young team and facing their first “strong” opponent of the season. With the nerves out after the first game, they were able to play their way in the second of the two game matchup.
“We just went in with confidence and knew that if we just played our game that we could dictate the outcome. It all came with our team's confidence,” said Gates.
With a confident and hardworking team of young players, the Marauders have a chance to make a strong push once the season resumes. Originally scheduled to start on Jan. 12, games up until Jan. 22 have been postponed, with their next scheduled game coming against the Laurier Golden Hawks in Waterloo on Jan. 26.