The McMaster Marauders' women's basketball team's impressive late-season run came to an end Wednesday night in Hamilton with a 77-59 loss to Western, and there was a surprising absence: head coach Theresa Burns. Burns missed the game thanks to a uniquely-Canadian injury, a concussion suffered playing hockey on the weekend. It's rare not to see Burns, who's been the Marauders' coach since 1992, on the sidelines, but from this corner, they made the right decision; any sort of strenuous activity can inhibit concussion recovery, and coaching playoff basketball certainly counts there. Things didn't work out for the Marauders Wednesday night, though, as they struggled right from the start and trailed by 12 early on.
Things only got worse from there. The Marauders pulled within eight to trail 20-12 at the end of the first quarter, but Western went on a second-quarter run and made it 41-25 at the half. McMaster did pull within nine in the third quarter and looked to potentially make a game of it, but the Mustangs bounced back and led by 14 at the end of the frame. They then boosted their lead to 18 in the fourth quarter and never looked back en route to victory. Katelyn Leddy paced the Mustangs with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Jenny Vaughan had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists and Lacey Knox had 13 points and seven rebounds.
For the Marauders, Taylor Chiarot had 14 points and eight rebounds, Liz Burns chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds and Hailey Milligan contributed 11 points and six rebounds. It was a disappointing end to the team's season, but their year as a whole was still a nice recovery from 2010-11's 6-16 campaign. Although Burns wasn't able to make this game, the school did the right thing by encouraging her to take the time to recover. It's not a storybook ending or "win one for the Gipper", but it's a solid story, and one that shows the dangers of concussions for everyone, not just elite athletes.