McMaster basketball fans thought they had seen the best of Sarah Gates in her sophomore year.
The Newmarket native scored 18 points as the Marauders upset the Laval Rouge et Or from Quebec City, 70-58, in 2019 to win the Bronze Baby, emblematic of the national championship.
And she did it at the old Maple Leaf Gardens, site of the very first NBA game between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers in 1946.
The venerable, old edifice, former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was renovated after the Leafs moved in 1999 and now serves as the home court for Toronto Metropolitan University, which hosted the national championship tournament when it was still called Ryerson.
Still, even better things were ahead for the talented point guard. Now in her fifth and final year at Mac, Gates recently broke the school’s all-time scoring record of 1,720 points, formerly held by St. Thomas More high school product Danielle Boiago, now an assistant coach to Theresa Burns with the Marauders.
Boiago is a former winner of the National Player of the Year Award.
Gates finished the regular season with a points-per-game average of 27.3 to lead the nation and is certain to be selected a first-team all-Canadian, as well as a strong contender for top player in Canada.
On the final weekend of the regular season, Gates poured in 41 points in an 81-61 triumph over Waterloo and another 36 as Mac defeated the University of Toronto Blues 94-73.
It has also been a banner year for Burns, who became only the second women’s coach in history to record 570 wins. Besides coaching Mac to a national championship in 2019, as a player she led U of T to the same title in 1986.
McMaster finished first in the Central Division of the OUA with a record of 17-5 and will host a quarter-final match against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at the Burridge Gym this Saturday night at 6.
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