Strong offensive performances from the McMaster Marauders starters and let downs on defence was the difference as the uOttawa Gee-Gees fell 69-65 on Friday in their season opener.
A rejuvenated Gee-Gees squad, who saw several players return to the lineup after a rough preseason on the injury front, couldn’t turn a strong start into a sustained lead.
“We were lucky to have a few more players healthy than we have in the preseason. But I think we have an offensive flow problem right now,” said guard Krista Van Singerland, who showed her versatility in her Gee-Gees debut, making plays at both ends.
“We’re giving up things on defence that we really shouldn’t,” she added. “I think it’s maybe a chemistry problem on the floor right now. The effort’s there, we have a lot of talent, we just can’t seem to get it all together right now, but I have faith that we will.”
The Gee-Gees went with a four guard starting lineup and weren’t able to establish much production in the post. Starting forward, Katherine Lemoine, playing with an injured shoulder, was constantly double-teamed down low. Fellow forward Catherine Traer did not dress, hurting the depth at the position.
McMaster took the lead early in the second with a 11 - 5 run. That translated into a 28-25 halftime edge after what proved to be a very low-scoring opening half.
McMaster continued to maintain a slight edge throughout the third quarter. It looked like the Gee-Gees were poised to come back and take the lead right away in the fourth but they couldn’t get the defensive stops and they fell behind by eight late.
uOttawa would run out of time to fix it. Despite a run in the last minute to bring them within four, the Gee-Gees succumbed to the CIS no. 6 Marauders.
“No excuses for the girls. That’s me not prepping them enough for defensive transition,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “We need to spend more time on it. We’re a team trying to develop this identity. We’re still trying to figure out what that is."
“We didn’t track the ball very well they had a lot of offensive rebounds we should have had. So it felt like we were on our heels in that one a little bit. I give them full credit for it though. We had some players that broke down on us a little bit that we needed more from."
Julia Soriano had the hot hand late trying to bring the Gee-Gees back. She ended up with 16 points, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, and four steals.
McMaster relied heavily on their starters who accounted for 66 of their 69 total points on the night. Danielle Boiago and Hilary Hanaka carried particularly heavy loads. Boiago finished with 24 points on 7-for-14 shooting and nine rebounds, while Hanaka went 6-for-12 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the line for 21 points. Clare Kenney added 17 for the Marauders.
The Gee-Gees come right back on Saturday to take on the Brock Badgers at 6 p.m. in Montpetit Hall.
Score by quarter