By Steve Petrick
After a slow start to their weekend, the Ryerson women’s basketball team took part in a little bit of history as they edged out the U of T Varsity Blues for the first time ever.
After an ugly season opening 10-point loss against Queen’s Saturday, the women’s team ended its 31-year long winless streak against the Blues with its narrow 80-77 victory Sunday night in Kerr Hall gym.
“I feel good,” Rams guard Miruna Muller said. “I’ve been waiting to kick their butts for three years now.”
Muller was responsible for more than a quarter of Ryerson’s scoring, dumping 24 points in for the free win.
Ryerson was aggressive against the Blues, fighting for every rebound and diving for every loose ball.
“We need to have team chemistry to win games, and that’s what we had today,” Ryerson point guard Karina Navarro said. “We can’t wait to go down there and beat them on their home court.”
For the first time in a long while, the Rams actually had a home court advantage. Kerr gym was full of Ryerson fans, and as a result, it was uncharacteristically loud through much of the game.
The noise helped Ryerson throw U of T off their game.
The Blues became victims of their own bad passing and poor shot selection as the second half came to a close.
“In the past, when we had weaker programs, [U of T] used to thump us by quite a bit,” Rams head coach Sandra Pothier said after ending her own six-year losing streak against the Blues.
“We know we have the talent this year, and we know that if we stick to our game plan we’re gonna take some teams out,” she said.
On Saturday, the Rams moved the ball around fast in their 65-55 loss to the provincial fifth-ranked Queen’s.
Ryerson had the crowd on their feet and had the Golden Gael’s on the ropes often, but it only lasted a couple minutes each time.
The Rams showed promise early when they put together four-point leads twice in the first 10 minutes, but Queen’s killed the momentum and took the elad for good late in the half.
“I thought we had some moments in the first half where we played pretty solid, but we ran into some foul trouble,” Pothier said.
Without a doubt, Muller was the bright spot in the Rams lineup that night.
She drove hard to the net all night and finished with 23 points, many of them, beautiful lay-ups.
“Miruna is an exceptional player. She can score from the three point line, she can pull up and score. I think we have a number of candidates on our team that can be all-stars this year, and she’s one of them,” said Pothier.
Muller, a native of Romania and a second year social work student, was not joyful after the Saturday loss, despite her great personal performance.
“I’m too upset to talk,” is all she would say.
The Rams will be in Quebec next weekend when they play Bishop’s University Friday, and the University of Laval Saturday.