With just two games remaining in the regular season, the McMaster Marauders women’s basketball team shows no sign of letting up.
The McMaster women won their 12th-straight game on Saturday, Feb. 10 when they defeated the Western Mustangs 66-44 at home.
With the win, the Marauders secured the season series against the Mustangs, having won the previous game in London back on Jan. 20. Mac squeaked out that one with an 83-80 victory.
Back at home, head coach Theresa Burns and her Marauders made sure not to leave things to chance down the stretch.
Marauders leading scorer Hilary Hanaka (Hamilton, Ont.) tallied 20 points in the win, shooting 64 per cent from the field. More impressive was her 83 per cent from beyond the arc, knocking down five of six.
Meanwhile, teammate Sarah Gates (Newmarket, Ont.) was just shy of a repeat performance against the Mustangs. Gates went on to finish the game with 15 points, just one short of her output in the teams’ last meeting.
Mackenzie Puklicz (London, Ont.) scored 14 points for the Mustangs to lead her team in scoring in a losing effort.
The opening quarter saw both sides struggle for rhythm as neither team was able to get its offence moving. After 10 minutes, the teams had combined for 19 turnovers.
Western had many opportunities to bridge the gap between themselves and the Marauders, finishing the game with 20 offensive boards and leading the turnover differential 17-10. Despite all that, the Mustangs only tallied six second-chance points and 10 points off of turnovers.
Ranking 16th in the OUA for free-throw percentage prior to the start of the game, the Mustangs continued their season-long struggle from the line. The Marauders committed a total of 19 fouls against the Mustangs but Western shot a dismal 36.8 per cent on the resulting free throws.
Meanwhile, the Marauders registered 22 points off turnovers, showing their ability to capitalize on their opportunities, while shooting 83.3 per cent from the foul line.
In the second half, the Marauders got their usual offence flowing after struggling in the opening 20 minutes.
McMaster racked up 20 shot attempts from beyond the arc after attempting only four in the first half. Ranking among the best in the OUA in three-point percentage (31.4), the Marauders finished the game with nine three-pointers, seven of which came in the second half.
The Marauders stretched out their lead in the fourth quarter, leading by 23 points by the 2:11 mark of the final quarter, and would hold steady from there as the final minutes ticked away on the Mustangs’ comeback attempt.
With the win, McMaster improves to 18-4 on the season with two games remaining in their schedule. The Marauders sit atop of the OUA West Division.
UP NEXT: The Marauders will close out their regular season schedule with a back-to-back series against the Algoma Thunderbirds at home next weekend. The first of the two-game series will be played on Friday, Feb. 16 at Burridge Gym. Algoma is currently sitting near the bottom of the OUA standings with a 2-19 record.
Marauders games can be streamed live on OUA.tv.