Rye women’s b-ball to lose key players

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By Steve Petrick

Since the women’s basketball team waved goodbye to its season, the team’s star guard has had thoughts about saying bye-bye to Ryerson.

Miruna Muller, OUA East all-star guard and the team’s leading scorer, said she will opt for a chance to play in a professional league and forego a fourth season with the Rams.

“It’s very frustrating playing for Ryerson, I found, for a third year in a row,” Muller said after her team was pounded 80-61 by the Laurentian Lady Vee’s in the first round of the Ontario East playoffs. “There’s going to have to be some changes.”

The Rams finished the season with a record of 18-16, but were a sub-par 8-12 in league play. The team had a disastrous second half of the season after it lost Australian exchange student Monique Hanley. It also lost third-year guard Karina Navarro to academic troubles at the end of the first semester.

The Rams won only four of 14 and had a six-game losing streak in the last half of the season.

Muller said she will try out for the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball League in April, and if she makes it, OUA rules state she will not be allowed to play university basketball again.

Failing a contract in the WNBA, Muller will try to catch on with a pro team in Europe.

“If I don’t make it [in Europe] I still don’t know if I’ll be back,” she said.

In her first two-and-a-half years with the Rams, Muller has been sidelined by both injuries and academic problems.

A knee injury caused her to miss games last season, but when she was academically suspended following the fall 1996 term, the social work student missed an entire semester.

If Muller elaves, filling her position won’t be easy. She led the Rams in scoring on most nights this season and ended up quarterbacking the team through most of the year.

The women’s team will also be hurt by the loss of graduating centre student Daniela Puhst.

The 6’2″ business management student said her departure will be tempered with the emergence of CIAU Rookie All-Star centre Mandi-May Bond.

Puhst worked with Bond through the year at practice and said Bond will help keep the team respectable in the future.

“I’m excited for this team for next year,” Puhst said after the loss to Laurentian. She was in tears after her team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Lady Vee’s, which was her last game.

The Rams should have 10 of their 14 players returning in the fall. However, they will be losing three starters in Muller, Puhst, and guard Petra Wolfbeiss.

Next year will also be head coach Sandra Pothier’s eighth as leader of the squad. With her season over, Pothier is out recruiting high schoolers to fill in the holes left by departing players.

“[Ryerson] is up in their enrolment and their cut-off date is a lot sooner,” she said. “So I have to start getting people to make sure they get their applications in and start closing in on people who want to come to the school.”

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