While U.S. college teams battle for basketball supremacy in the NCAA tournament, McMaster University’s cagers are staging their own March Madness on campus.
Patrick Tatham’s Marauders will host Lakehead University in an OUA West Division semi-final game at the Burridge Gym Saturday night at 7, just seven hours after Mac’s women’s team, coached by Theresa Burns, is involved in a West Division semi-final showdown with the Brock Badgers in St. Catharines.
The noon hour match in the Garden City will be over in plenty of time for fans to get back to campus in Hamilton for the men’s game. They can even take the scenic route along Highway 8 and miss all the QEW traffic.
The Marauders finished second in the West Divisiion of the men’s league after beating Laurier 75-70 in their final regular season game. Jordan Henry led McMaster with 17 points.
Meanwhile, the women had their final regular season game against Laurier cancelled because they had players in COVID protocols, and placed fifth in the West Division.
But even playing without Jenna Button, one of their top scorers, they beat Waterloo decisively 63-45 in a playoff game in Waterloo Wednesday night.
Returning from a shoulder injury Sarah Gates, a member of the 2019 national championship team, scored 23 points to lead the way for McMaster.
Three years ago she had dropped in 18 to tie for the team lead in the national championship victory over Laval on Ryerson’s home court in the old Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
Mia Spadafora, Arianne Soriano and Clare Sharkey also are returnees from the national champions.
Both teams had their entire seasons cancelled by COVID in 2020-21. The men made the quarterfinals before losing to Carleton just before COVID arrived in 2019-20 and the women reached the quarterfinals before losing to Western by a single point.
By DENIS GIBBONS