This past Wednesday, Brock women’s basketball was held to 20 points in the second half versus the McMaster Marauders. It wasn’t the type of half the Badgers expected from themselves against the number two ranked team in the country — soon to be number one after Carleton’s loss to Algoma.
“I don’t think we are 30 below them,” said Brock head coach Ashley MacSporran about the 35 point loss. “We were down nine at half and I think that was more of an indication of where we are.”
The Badgers will quickly get another chance at the Marauders this upcoming Saturday, as the two OUA central division teams will meet for the second time in the span of 11 days. The Marauders being one of the best, if not the best team in the country, will give the Badgers an indication of where they truly stand among the best.
“It’ll be a different game plan for sure,” said forward Kira Cornelissen looking ahead to Saturday. “We need to focus on hitting our shots and contesting their threes.”
The Marauders hit 10 three’s against the Badgers in the first meeting, knocking down 50 per cent of their long range jumpers, compared to Brock failing to hit a single three. Linnaea Harper of the Marauders was the key issue for the Badgers as early in the game she got going to help her team with 26 points, shooting six of eight from beyond the arc. Rachael Holmes was also impressive going three of four from three for 15 points.
“I was a bit disappointed in our lack of effort and fight in the second half,” said MacSporran.
The coach also pointed to the lack of rebounding as an issue for the Badgers as they gave up 10 offensive rebounds to the Marauders. McMaster had 15 second chance points against the Badgers.
The same trouble continued for the Badgers this past Saturday against the Guelph Gryphons. Guelph had 14 first half offensive rebounds. The Badgers still had a 42-29 lead at halftime, but they know they need to clean up on the boards against a team like Guelph before they can succeed against a strong McMaster team.
At halftime the Badgers spoke about focusing on the goal of being one and done on the defensive end. It translated to the court as Guelph only had six second half offensive rebounds and were held to 24 points on route to an 82-53 Badgers win.
Cornelissen dominated the game even though she dealt with foul trouble all game long. She finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds. First year forward Shannon Northey came off the bench to buy Cornelissen some minutes. It was Northey’s most impressive game early in her career as she had 13 points and eight rebounds, six of which were offensive boards.
“Stepped in and stepped up as a rookie,” said MacSporran about Northey’s play. “She’s been practicing and playing really well as of late. She came out and played really tough.”
Northey stepping up also allowed the Badgers to play with her and Cornelissen both on the floor together, which is a luxury for Brock. The two forwards together gives the Badgers a different look offensively beyond their four-guard-one-forward system.
Alex Symonds has also quietly been a key player for the Badgers. Against Guelph she had eight points and five rebounds.
“Alex didn’t get a lot of playing time [last season], but she’s a fourth year playing like a fourth year,” said MacSporran. “She’s a leader and she’s smart. She kind of does everything for us.”
Brock guard Bridget Atkinson played her former team for the first time. Atkinson played the previous two seasons with the Gryphons, averaging 11.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 37 games. In this game she had 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The Badgers continued to struggle shooting three against the Gryphons. In their first two games they had hit a total of four three’s, and after going three of six in the first half the Badgers failed to hit a three in the second half.
Brock is now 2-1 early in the season with three games remaining in the 2016 portion of their season. They’ll travel to Ottawa to play the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gee’s to close out 2016, but their attention will first be turned to the Marauders.
Brock will host McMaster in Bob Davis Gymnasium on November 26. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m.