By Matt Vocino
Over the last two days of the 2019 U SPORTS Final 8, teams across the country have left their mark in a bevy of ways at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Although the Rams are eliminated from the championship bracket, we decided to take a look at some of the other teams who are still in the hunt for a national title.
McMaster gets it done
The no. 2 ranked McMaster Marauders will play for the gold for the first time on Sunday, after defeating the no. 3 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies by a score of 73-66 in the first of two semifinals on March 9.
Following her career-high 32 points in McMaster’s quarterfinal victory over Concordia on March 8, second-year guard Sarah Gates once again led the Mauraders to victory with 21 points on 9-15 shooting from the field, while Linnaea Harper and Christina Buttenham both recorded double-doubles.
The Marauders came out of the gate firing to start the first quarter, scoring the first six points in the game and would lead by eight with just under four minutes left in the half.
Despite this, the Huskies would come storming back, making a number of clutch three-pointers to climb back into the game.
Unfortunately for Saskatchewan, the Marauders would take over in the third quarter, outscoring the Huskies 26-14.
McMaster later established a 59-47 lead heading into the final frame, thanks in large part to the dominant play of Harper, who scored 10 of her 16 points in the quarter.
With 57 seconds left in the game, Sabine Dukate cut the lead to four with a three-ball, but that’s as close as last year’s silver medalists would come, as McMaster held on to advance to their first title game in program history.
Laval powers through
In the second semi-final of the day, the No. 1 Laval Rouge et Or punched their ticket to the gold medal game in a 60-56 victory over Ottawa Gee-Gees.
This was thanks in large part to U SPORTS player of the year Sarah-Jane Marois, who scored 20 points and U SPORTS defensive player of the year Khaleann Caron-Goudreau, who recorded 10 blocks and 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth.
Similarly to the first semifinal, both teams went into the break virtually even, with the Rouge et Or leading 24-23, after the Gee-Gees went on a 9-0 run in the final 2:52 of the second quarter.
After a back and forth third quarter, Laval and Ottawa would begin the final frame all knotted up at 42.
With 3:30 left in the contest, last year’s runner up would go up 51-48, and would increase their lead to seven with 1:20 to go. A late push by Ottawa would cut Laval’s lead to four, but Ottawa’s comeback would come up just short.
The Ryerson Rams and Acadia Axewomen will kick off championship Sunday March 10 at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the consolation final to determine the 5th place, while Saskatchewan and Ottawa will square off for the bronze medal beginning at 3 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m., Laval and McMaster will tip-off in the final game of the weekend with history on the line, as both teams look to capture their program’s first ever national title.