By Maureen Rice
SUDBURY — After four years of sweat, frustration and a lot of hard work, women’s basketball captain Karen Ure finally got the opportunity to achieve one of her goals last Friday — playing in the playoffs.
Unfortunately her second goal — winning a playoff game — will never be achieved after the Rams were dumped by the Western Mustangs 76-67. The game left Ure with a bittersweet taste in her mouth.
Point guard Karina Navarro’s disappointment with the Rams’ play summer up the team’s emotions after the loss.
“I don’t think we played up to our potential. The shots weren’t dropping for us.”
The Rams (9-11), who finished fourth in the OUA East, fell behind early in their game against Western (12-2), the number-one team in the West division. This was Ryerson’s first playoff appearance in seven years and the Rams looked jittery and overmatched at the start.
But the women responded well to the pressure. By the end of the first half, Ryerson had tied the game, 36-36, largely thanks to Miruna Muller’s stellar performance, coming off the bench to score 14 points in the first half.
The Rams were not able to carry the momentum into the second half. Western scored the first couple of baskets after the half-time break and it took the Rams a few minutes to muster a response.
Western was also able to keep Muller to seven points in the second half as they pulled out a nine-point win.
“We moved the ball well in the first half — we penetrated,” said Ryerson’s coach Sandra Pothier. “But we were stagnant in the second half. We lost our composure.”
Ryerson’s loss to Western last Friday at Laurentian University eliminated the Rams from contention for the CIAU basketball championships.
But the Rams were not allowed to sulk for long, returning to the court to play McMaster in the consolation semifinals the next day.
McMaster dominated the game early and by half-time the score was 45-28. The Rams refused to give up, outplaying and outscoring McMaster in the second half 31-19. Navarro scored 17 points and was named player of the game. Rams guard Georgia Parkes also played a key role in the Rams’ comeback attempt, scoring 20 points.
Though the women are known as a comeback team, Ryerson came up short losing 64-59.
The Rams kept both games close but the losses were expected considering the team’s lack of playoff experience. Yet the team still took each loss to heart and a few veteran players were noticeably teary-eyed after the games.
Three Ram starters will be graduating this year — Ure, Sandrise James and Parkes — but Pothier believes she still has a good nucleus of players for next season.
“The team showed a lot of character and I believe the experience will help next year’s team,” said Pothier. “Miruna Muller will be a big force.”
Laurentian, Western and Lakehead have advanced to the CIAU basketball championships being played at Lakehead this Friday through Sunday.