Gryphons shoved out of playoffs with overtime setback

GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons saw their OUA women’s basketball season come to a heart-breaking end Wednesday night on their home court when they dropped a 93-88 decision in overtime to the McMaster Marauders.

In the end, it was McMaster’s three-point shooting that proved to be the difference as the Marauders collected 42 points on three-pointers, 18 more than the Gryphs.

“I was really disappointed tonight the way we guarded. We didn’t guard the arc.“We knew they were going to shoot the three-ball and we just didn’t guard it,” Gryphon head coach Mark Walton said. “We took more shots than them, we made more shots than them. We out rebounded them and they turned us over more times than I think they should have because of our own lackadaisicalness sometimes. Anyway, that’s the way it is.”

Both teams committed 15 turnovers and 15 fouls in the game.

Guelph had to know that the Marauders were going to take an abundance of long-range shots as that was a big part of their offence all season long. They took 611 of them during the regular season, second in the 18-team league, behind only the 667 launched by the Queen’s Gaels. However, McMaster did a better job sinking those shots Wednesday night as they drained 37.8 per cent of them, an improvement of 12.4 per cent on their seasonal average.

The Gryphs fell behind early as both teams went wild scoring in the first quarter – they combined for 53 points in the opening quarter. However, the Gryphs showed some character as they did manage to battle back from a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter to force the game into overtime when Ivana Vujadinovic hit a jumper with four seconds to go. Christina Buttenham had given the Marauders the lead a second earlier, right before the Gryphs called a time out.

“We did show character doing that and I’m proud of them for that, no question about it,” Walton said.

The magic the Gryphs showed in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, abandoned them sometime during the break between regulation time and overtime as the Gryphs missed seven shots in the five-minute extra period.

“It seemed to leave,” Walton said. “We come down the floor, make a bad decision and they go down and score. We come down the floor and make another bad decision and they go down and score and that breaks the bubble. You can’t have those kind of things in a playoff game at this level. Mac’s a good team. They’re well coached and they execute what they need to execute. We just didn’t answer today. We just didn’t answer in the overtime which is a surprise because we’re usually pretty good at that kind of circumstance.”

Could it have been the pressure of the playoffs?

“Maybe that’s what it is,” Walton said.

Guelph never truly had a comfortable lead in the game as the most they were ahead of the Marauders by was four points when they opened the game with a pair of buckets in the first 26 seconds.

McMaster led 30-23 at the end of the first quarter, 48-41 at halftime and 67-58 at the end of the third quarter. The teams were knotted 82-82 at the end of regulation time.

Burke Bechard led the Gryphs with 26 points, her single-game season high. Her all-time single-game high in her three seasons with the Gryphs is the 27 she scored against the Waterloo Warriors just over a year ago.

Skyla Minaker had 17 points against McMaster while Vujadinovic added 12. Bechard also had 12 rebounds and eight assists while Minaker had 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

“Burke would just not be denied tonight,” Walton said. “She ended up with 26 points and Skye was right behind with 17. They make assists and they were doing all the aspects of the game. They defended the other team’s stars, we just let them get going too much.”

Buttenham led all scorers with 36 points for McMaster while Sarah Gates had 16 with 12 of those coming on three-pointers. Jenna Button added 14 points and Tori Riggs-DiDomenico had 12, all on three-pointers in 13 minutes of court time. Butenham had 16 rebounds and two blocks while Olivia Wilson had 11 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and three blocks.

Looking ahead to the 2020-21 season, the Gryphons are expecting to lose guards Vujadinovic and Sarah Holmes and forwards Ashley Wheeler, Modupe Okeowo and Nyasha Mombeshora as they’ve either used up their five years of eligibility or are going to be finishing their studies in the next month or so.

“Next season, I’m really happy with the recruits coming in,” Walton said. “I’m really happy with the intensity that they bring, the skill level and skill set that they bring. It’s going to be a rebuilding year in many ways and we’ll see how it goes.”


Marauders 93 Gryphons 88 (OT)
McMaster     30-18-19-15-11–93
Guelph           23-18-17-24-6–88
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