Based on the real-life women's-hoops coach Cathy Rush, The Mighty Macs appears to have been made on a budget equivalent to the cost of a WNBA fleece hoodie. But even at that price, the film, the first feature by Tim Chambers, who co-scripted with Anthony Gargano, is profligate with sports-movie clichés. Happily agreeing to a salary of $450 for the 1971-72 season, Cathy (Carla Gugino), a young bride married to an NBA referee, turns the sad squad at run-down, single-sex, Catholic Immaculata College into victors, primarily by asking rhetorical questions such as “Who here likes to win?” and “How much are you willing to sacrifice?” Yet despite its unrelenting corniness, The Mighty Macs admirably tries to honor the achievements of second-wave feminism, pointing out the injustices university female athletes faced before Title IX was passed into law. Always a trooper, Gugino brings dignity and energy to the affirmation-spouting bio-doodle she plays, striding proudly onto the court in butterfly collars and snug blazers (about the only period detail attended to). Although the young women she coaches remain blurs, Cathy does form a strong bond with a nun (Marley Shelton, also fully committed), and finally wins over the abbess (Ellen Burstyn)proving, however literally, that sisterhood really is powerful.

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