The Badger’s women’s basketball team kicked off a two-game week on Wednesday, Jan. 18 with a matchup against the McMaster Marauders. Entering the contest with an 8-4 record, McMaster is the top-ranked side in the OUA. McMaster’s lineup features OUA points per game leader Sarah Gates, who is also fifth in the OUA in field goal percentage. With her leading the charge, McMaster has a very efficient offence that is difficult to contain.
The Badgers would express that difficulty early.
Going on a 15-3 scoring run to start the first, McMaster’s offence hummed along as predicted, shooting a clean 40 per cent from the field and 36 per cent from beyond the arc. Also playing lights-out defence, McMaster held Brock to a measly seven points on a cringe-worthy 2-14 shooting performance.
Though still 0-6 from three, Brock’s offensive efficiency seemed to sputter to life in the second, pushing up to a bearable 31 per cent from the field. The Badgers got into double-digit scoring for the first time in the game, but it was nowhere near enough. McMaster simply created more looks, and finished them at a still better rate.
Brock left the half down 49-19.
Discontent with an uninspiring half of basketball, the Badgers made some tactical changes at half to right the ship.
Though the gap may have been insurmountable, these changes paid dividends from the hop.
McMaster’s offensive opportunities fell and their efficiency plummeted by 13 points. On the other hand, Brock’s offence showed significant improvement, reaching their highest number of attempts on the night, making their first three, and hitting shots at an efficient clip. Brock outscored McMaster in the quarter 14-10.
Much the same story continued in the fourth. Brock’s field goal efficiency jumped again, this time north of 40 per cent. Though Brock would outscore McMaster again, it wouldn’t be enough to bridge the gap. McMaster’s three-point shooting continued to play a big role, as despite shooting under 27 per cent from the field, they still converted on three long bombs on 38 per cent efficiency in the quarter.
Though outmatched by a clearly better opponent, the loss underscores many of the struggles with the team this year. After another poor performance from beyond the arc, it is no surprise that the Badgers sit fourth last in the OUA in points.
On Saturday Jan. 21, the Badgers had a chance to regroup against a struggling York University at home. Brock’s struggles from Wednesday bled through into the weekend.
The Badgers struggled to create looks for themselves, so though they shot at a respectable efficiency, they were outscored in both the first two quarters and left the half down 38-30.
As has often been the case this season, Brock needed a change of pace in the second half. They would get it too, seeing their defensive intensity pick up in the third quarter. Holding York to a second-half shooting efficiency of 25 per cent, the Badgers wore the opposing side down, eventually working their way back into winning position.
As she is prone to do, Madalyn Weinert came out firing down the stretch. Her 20 points in the second half were the most on either team throughout the whole game. Her 34 points on over 50 per cent shooting, nine rebounds and five blocks, in addition to some great team defense, sparked the Badgers’ second-half comeback, winning 69-62.
Though Madalyn Weinert once again played well, posting another double-digit scoring outing, the team needs to rely on her less and find her some more weapons. The way that this Badgers team won is indicative of many of their issues. Its difficult to lose games when one player scores almost half your points and does so while missing less than half of her shots. However, when Weinert struggles, or when she’s forced to take inefficient looks to compensate for her teammates, the offense stalls. Strong defence and one star will not be enough to win Brock games down the stretch.
The Badgers next play Friday, Jan. 27 in an away game at Nippissing. For their full scores and schedule, go to their gobdagers.ca page.