(WINDSOR, ON) – The quest for three is alive and well in Windsor, as the Lancers women’s basketball team are heading to their fifth-straight CIS Final 8 national championships after knocking off the McMaster Marauders 73-51 at the St. Denis Centre on Saturday evening.
With the victory, Windsor earns an opportunity to defend the CIS banner which they have held for the past two years, as they claim a spot in the CIS Final 8 taking place in Regina from March 15-17. The women will also play host to the OUA Finals next weekend.
Bojana Kovacevic and Jessica Clemencon each tallied a game-high 16 points, with Clemencon picking up a team-high 14 rebounds for a double-double. Miah-Marie Langlois recorded seven points, six assists and five rebounds for the women, who shot 41.2% from the field compared to 26.7% from the Marauders.
The Lancers streaked to a large advantage early, going on an 11-0 run. Clemencon notched four points, and an open three from Bojana Kovacevic gave the women some early momentum in front of the raucous crowd. It took the visitors close to four minutes before draining their first field-goal.
Tessa Kreiger (London, Ont.) notched a lay-in off the bench after some good passing from Kovacevic and Williams, giving Windsor a 17-8 advantage. Williams was a defensive stalwart, forcing two turnovers from the Marauders, who shored up offensively late in the quarter to bring themselves within eight after 10 minutes of play.
Langlois got into foul trouble, picking up her third personal early in the second quarter. However, Wiliams took over the offense and continued to roll, grabbing her own rebound after a penetration to the basket to maintain Windsor’s spread.
Meanwhile, the battle between Clemencon and McMaster 6’3” centre Hailey Milligan was heating up. After Milligan notched two free-throws off a foul from the St. Rambert, France native, Clemencon responded with two points after avoiding her counterpart’s block underneath the basket.
Kovacevic and Danielle Boiago traded three-pointers, and the home side enjoyed a double-digit spread through most of the second. Kovacevic then made an arching inbounds pass that found Williams for a buzzer-beating lay-up that put Windsor up 36-23 at halftime.
Clemencon recorded a half-high of 10 points and added seven rebounds. Milligan and Boiago each picked up eight points to lead the Marauders, and Milligan pulled down a half-high of eight rebounds. The visitors struggled from the field in the first 20 minutes, shooting just 25.9% (7-27) while the Lancers worked at a 40.5% efficiency.
Laura Mullins (Windsor) began the half with her first three-pointer of the evening to spread the lead. However, Vanessa Bonomo notched a three-point play in response for the Marauders. Kovacevic followed a lay-up with a put-back after a Jocelyn LaRocque miss, giving the defending national champions a 20-point lead.
The Marauders were not helping their own cause, missing five straight free throws at one point in the period. Kovacevic caught fire in the quarter, knocking down her fourth jumper from three-point territory. The hometown native knocked down seven points in the quarter, and the women would take a substantial spread into the final frame.
With the contest out of reach in the fourth, the game’s flow slowed down substantially with the teams combining for eight fouls in the first five minutes and the Marauders finding themselves in the penalty. In very familiar territory with a lopsided advantage in the final quarter, the Lancers sailed to their 23rd straight victory of the regular season and playoffs combined this season.
The Lancers will return to the St. Denis Centre next Saturday, March 9 to host the Carleton Ravens in the OUA Finals. The Ravens defeated Ottawa 50-43 in the East Final on Saturday to earn a date with the Lancers as well as berth in Regina.
In their only conference meeting this season, Windsor pulled out a close 58-53 win at home in the first game of the regular season.