By Steve Petrick
Ryerson women’s basketball team proved itself a force to be reckoned with as it closed out its pre-season with a convincing win over the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks.
The Rams served notice to the rest of the Ontario University Athletic association as they beat the ‘Hawks 68-52 last Saturday in Kerr Hall gym.
The win capped off an already strong pre-season for Ryerson.
Through two tournaments and three exhibition games the Rams have a 6-3 record, including a third place finish (the team’s best ever) at the Ryerson Classic.
In its games against Laurier, the team’s two centres, Daniela Puhst and rookie Mandi-May Bond, led Ryerson scorers, with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Bond also contributed by pulling down 10 rebounds, six of them in the Laurier end.
“I think we played really, really well tonight,” Bond said. “Everything’s starting to gel. We had really good periods where everything was in sync.”
After jumping out to an early lead, Ryerson took control for the entire game.
Ryerson was ahead 34-25 at the end of the first half.
In the second half, the Rams followed the advice of head coach Sandra Pothier and contested Laurier’s shots better as they tightened their defense.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Golden hawks had scored only five points.
“I think our defensive full court pressure was good. They showed fairly good patience,” Pothier said. “I thought the guards did a good job getting inside and also hitting their own shots on the perimeter, when the defense was setting up.”
The Rams are now preparing for this Saturday’s regular season opener against the Queen’s Golden Gaels and Sunday’s game against the U of T Varsity Blues.
“I think it’s starting to come together,” the 6-foot-2 Puhst said. “If we have a really strong inside game and a strong outside game [opponents] will not be able to cover all aspects of it.”
“[The league] seems to be up to anyone. Often there’s a lot of schools that are really dominant, but this year is different. Anyone can beat anybody, and we’re right in there,” she said.
Queen’s U of T were two powerhouses in the OUA last year. The Blues were 17-3 and placed second in the OUA east division. The Gaels went 15-5 and finished behind them in third.
Both teams crushed Ryerson by convincing scores last year, so the Rams will be out for revenge.
“Queen’s basically has the same team as last year. They’re a good solid squad and they are very disciplined, but I think they’re very beatable as well,” Pothier said.
“We’re still trying to sure up our defense,” she said. “Offensively we’re trying to get better at making our reads sooner and having the discipline to stay within our offensive set.”
Pothier wants people to come out and watch this weekend.
“I think we have a really exciting squad. I think that [Queen’s and Toronto] are going to be two of the top teams in the conference and it’s going to be two good wins for us.”
The games are 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday night at Kerr Hall gym.