By Fraser Caldwell
Injecting drama into Friday’s contest in the late stages, the Marauders came up just one shot short of revenge at Burridge Gym.
McMaster trailed by two and had possession in the final seconds, but missed its final effort to fall 82-80 to the Brock Badgers in the penultimate game of the fall.
With the result, the Marauders fell to 6-3 in conference play and sat third in the OUA Central division.
Veteran Marauders forward Christina Buttenham set a new career single-game high with 32 points in a losing effort, hitting 14 of 25 shots from the field and adding 10 rebounds for the double double.
Sarah Gates was efficient on the perimeter, hitting eight of 16 shots and racking up 20 points.
With the visitors starting quickly on Friday, the Marauders found themselves down by 10 points inside the first five minutes, when Jessica Morris knocked down a triple for 16-6. The hosts bounced back quickly to move within four points when Olivia Wilson hit a layup for 19-15 with 2:45 to play in the first, but that momentum proved short-lived.
Brock embarked on a 16-5 run to close the quarter and build a 15-point lead, capping it with a triple from Megan Charbooneau for 35-20.
The Badgers effectively held the Marauders at bay until the later stages of the second quarter, when the home side began to find its offensive rhythm. From a 15-point deficit at the midpoint of the quarter, Mac outscored Brock 13-6 and slashed the Badgers lead to just eight at the half, with Christina Buttenham knocking down consecutive layups in the dying seconds.
Methodically working their way back into contention in the third quarter, the Marauders outscored the Badgers 22-16 in the quarter and cut their deficit to just two points with 10 minutes to play.
A Buttenham layup in transition slashed the Badgers lead to 59-56 with 2:20 to play, and Julia Hanaka’s short-range bucket underneath with a minute to play cut it to just two at 60-58.
Immediately, the hosts erased the deficit entirely, when Buttenham nailed the opening shot of the fourth quarter to level the game at 60. Mac pressed its advantage, and moved into a three-point lead when Jenna Button followed with a triple.
But Brock responded with a 10-1 run to reestablish a lead, and started a frantic race to the finish line at Burridge Gym.
Down three points at 76-73, Buttenham produced a clutch triple to level the game with 2:43 to play. Once again, Brock had an answer, with a pair of buckets and a free throw to move ahead 81-76.
Buttenham was the hot hand yet again with a layup to cut the deficit to three with 1:25 to play, but a subsequent turnover made the clock the enemy for the Marauders. Gates drained another two to make it a one-point game at 81-80, but Mac was forced to foul.
Mac got the outcome they needed when Sam Keltos missed both shots following the intentional foul, but Brock pulled down the board and added one more point, before holding off the last Marauders possession for the win.
NEXT UP: McMaster concludes the fall portion of its schedule Saturday in Toronto with a visit to the Goldring Centre and the Toronto Varsity Blues at 6:00 p.m.