By Sean Fitz-Gerald
A week after masquerading as a national contender, the Ryerson women’s basketball team had its mask removed at the Raptors Cup on Halloween.
After trick-or-treating through the four-team tournament last week, Ryerson had only a 1-2 record, fatigue and a third-place finish in its goodie bag.
In their Halloween Sunday 66-58 loss to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at the Air Canada Centre, the Rams closed out the tournament disguised as like the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
Ryerson sent the Blues to the foul line in a frightening 44 times and shot an eerie 38 per cent from the field in the loss.
“We were awful,” fourth-year forward Becky Owen said. “The whole game seemed like it was in slow motion because we were reacting to everything they did and we really didn’t initiate anything.”
The Rams also turned the ball over 26 times through the final game, which isn’t too bad considering the Blues gave the ball away 23 times. However, U of T scored 24 points off the giveaways, 13 more than Ryerson could do with their chances.
“We just weren’t moving our feet on defence and we got ruined on the foul line,” fourth-year forward and Rams’ captain Lisa Poulin said.
The previous week, Ryerson held its own against the best teams in the country. Even though they finished with an identical 1-2 record, the Rams could at least boast they only lost 65-56 to the defending champion, the Alberta Pandas. Ryerson also beat the Laval Rouge et Or, a team with a 13-6 record last year, 64-59.
At the Raptors tournament, the Rams lost the winnable U of T game, and dropped another eight-point match 55-47 to the eventual champion, the York Yeowomen.
The only game the Rams won was a 65-43 pounding of the Windsor Lancers last Thursday afternoon. Last season, Windsor finished seventh out of eight teams in the OUA West division with a 4-10 record last season.
Fourth-year Ryerson guard Miruna Muller said the squad is still trying to get its five rookies and three sophomores to learn the team’s style of play.
“We have a lot of young people on the team and we’re still adjusting to a new offence,” said Muller, who went 2-15 from the field. “They’re learning it and we’re doing better every game.”
Ryerson still has a little more than a week before travelling to Montreal to open up its regular season against Concordia Nov. 12.
Ryerson has incurred a 3-7 record in an already gruelling pre-season schedule.
“It’s just dragging on and I think we’re just getting tired,” Poulin said. “The pre-season’s been long and I’m glad it’s almost over.”
Even though Devil’s night was Saturday, the Rams will be put through hell again this week by coach Sandra Pothier.
“We’re going to do a lot of conditioning and work on our strength training,” Pothier said, pointing to Ryerson’s trouble in keeping up with the opponents in the dying staged of the second half. “It’s going to be a hard week, and they should be dragging their tongues by the end of it.”