By Steve Petrick
SUDBURY—At times it looked as though Ryerson’s women’s basketball team could pull off an amazing playoff upset, but in the end, the Laurentian Lady Vees were just too strong.
The Lady Vees did not break the game wide open as expected until the final 10 minutes, but ended up winning 64-50 Thursday night to end the Rams’ playoff run in the OUA East semifinal.
Laurentian 64-Rams 50
It was the closest score the Lady Vees had all weekend. They went on to smoke the University of Toronto in the division final 64-39 and Western in the OUA championship 68-44.
The fourth-place Rams, playing through incredible noise and hostile heckling from the crowds, actually had the lead at one point in the second half. Rookie guard Treisha Hylton sunk a beautiful lay up and then hit a free-throw to make the score 33-32. But the Lady Vees went on a 13.3 run in the game’s final quarter, sealing the victory.
“We stuck together. We still gave them a game,” Hylton said. “This was a great experience.”
“We played well, especially on defense,” said Rams guard Miruna Muller, who led her team with 19 points. “We just had a falling out for about two or three minutes.”
“I’m happy how we played,” she said. “We came back and we took the lead by one point. That meant a lot to us.”
Behind the Rams’ bench was a group of about 50 hell-raising Laurentian students who were banging pots and pans with wooden spoons and screaming their lungs out the entire game.
The noise was so loud that during every timeout, the Rams took their chairs to the middle of the court and huddle in a circle to hear each other. Although pot-banging is forbidden in men’s play, the women’s league permits it.
Not being able to hear themselves talk didn’t affect the Rams’ play though. “It was difficult to give instructions on the court but I think they really fought hard,” Rams head coach Sandra Pothier said. “I don’t think they quit, they played right to the last second. I’m very proud of my team.”
The semifinal marked the end of varsity careers for at least three Ryerson players. Forwards Lisa Poulin, Becky Owen and Cathy Taylor were in tears after losing and received hugs from Pothier.
The game may also have been the last for Muller, who will likely leave to play professional basketball in Europe.
Muller was named to the OUA East division all-star team for the second year in a row last week and will leave a huge gap in the Rams’ roster to fill.
The loss was the third straight first-round playoff defeat for Ryerson’s women basketball team. In 1998, they fell to Western and last year they were beaten by Laurentian.