By Fraser Caldwell
They have had to wait, with an OUA schedule front-loaded with road games, but the Marauders will finally return home to Burridge Gym and be duly celebrated for their historic national title run in March, when they welcome the Algoma Thunderbirds to Hamilton on Friday.
McMaster will see its 2019 U SPORTS Championship banner, the first national women’s basketball title in school history, raised to the rafters of Burridge Gym, and the players responsible for it presented with their championship rings in a pregame ceremony.
To recognize the occasion, the Marauders will be playing in the 8:00 p.m. game Friday, with the men’s game preceding them at 6:00 p.m. The championship ceremony will take place at the conclusion of the men’s half of the doubleheader.
The entirety of McMaster’s title-winning roster, nine players from which remain on today’s team, is expected in attendance. Head coach Theresa Burns and representatives from the Marauders graduated senior class will speak, along with representatives from McMaster University.
Entering the 2019 U SPORTS Championship in Toronto as the second seed, after claiming their fifth conference title a week earlier, the Marauders defeated the Concordia Stingers and Saskatchewan Huskies to earn their first ever berth in the national final, where they met the top-seeded Laval Rouge et Or.
A 26-point fourth quarter dramatically broke that contest open for McMaster, as the Marauders saw out a 70-58 victory to win the Bronze Baby trophy and be crowned as U SPORTS champions.
The reigning national champions sit at 2-1 through three games of OUA regular season play entering the weekend, having swept the Lakehead Thunderwolves and dropped their most recent contest at Brock.
Tickets for Friday’s home opening doubleheader will follow regular procedures, with McMaster students being admitted free with the presentation of valid student ID. Adult tickets are available for $8, while tickets for non-McMaster students and children are $5. Those tickets can be purchased online at marauders.ca/tickets or at the ticketing booth on game day.