Wednesday basketball action

The second season for the McMaster basketball teams starts on Wednesday, Feb. 20 with both squads at home for OUA West division quarter-final playoffs.

In women’s action, the Marauders enter the post-season as the third seed in the OUA West and will face the No. 6 seed Guelph Gryphons.

In two earlier meetings, the Marauders needed a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Gryphons in Guelph 73-69, and then defeated the Gryphons in Hamilton a month later by 68-59.

The Marauders will look to their inside-outside combination of Hailey Milligan and Danielle Boiago to provide some scoring punch. Milligan finished league play as the leading rebounder in Canada at 11.5 rebounds per game to go along with her 16.3-PPG scoring average. She has also been a consistent producer, having registered double figures in points and rebounds for 11 consecutive games.

A native of Hamilton, Boiago has been a terrific addition and is a favourite for OUA rookie of the year. She averaged 15.3 points per game and her 39 three-point goals puts her second on the Mac all-time list for threes made in a single season.

Coach Burns has been getting solid production from seniors Vanessa Bonomo and Liz Burns, while Isabel Ormond and Stephanie Truelove have also contributed to the latest stretch that has seen McMaster win six of its last seven games.

Guelph counters with guards Marlee Freeman and Alex Beatty, while forwards Kayla Goodhoofd and Jasmine Douglas are solid. The Gryphons should be loose heading into the game, as they owe their playoff berth to McMaster, which eliminated Lakehead on Saturday to Guelph’s benefit.

The men’s game sees the third-seed Marauders host the Waterloo Warriors, who defeated Guelph in their final game to snare the sixth and final playoff spot.

In their two meetings in conference play McMaster won both, taking an 81-70 decision in Waterloo and winning 81-56 in Hamilton.

Waterloo is led by two transfer players that have helped the Warriors return to the playoffs. Guards Jaspreet Gill and Mike Helmsby have been great additions and have provided solid leadership for a young team.

The Marauders will counter with a balanced attack that has seen different players step up over the course of the year.

Forward Taylor Black and guard Joe Rocca both average over 15-points per game to lead the way, but the emergence of forward Nathan McCarthy as an inside threat and the return to health of guard Adam Presutti has restored team depth. Consistent contributors Scott Laws, Aaron Redpath and Rohan Boney are all capable of big games.

Since January, McMaster has registered an 11 and 3 record versus its OUA West division opponents, and enters the playoffs as healthy as the team has been all season.

The doubleheader starts at 6 p.m. with the women’s game, followed by men’s action at 8 p.m.