By Gavin Mackenzie
Last year after Ryerson’s women’s basketball team lost in the oUA East semifinals, Rams all-star guard Miruna Muller stormed out of the dressing room and declared it was frustrating to play for Ryerson. She said she could find a job playing pro basketball.
This year after Ryerson bowed out to Laurentian in the semifinals, the scene was pretty much the same, only Muller had a more positive message. The native of Cluj-Napoca, Romania is still seeking a pro contract with a European team so she can be close to her family and help them financially.
“I’m happy,” Muller said in the hallway outside Laurentian’s gym. “I’m happy with the way we played.”
Muller, who has been the Rams’ deadliest offensive weapon throughout the past two seasons said this year’s team was the best she had ever played with at Ryerson and did not rule out the possibility of returning for a fifth and final year. The Rams posted a mediocre 8-12 recod for a second straight season, but played their opponents grittier in the past years and learned how to fight back from huge deficits.
The playoff loss in Sudbury March 2 was a prime example. Laurentian jumped ahead 9-0 just three minutes into the game, but the Rams clawed back and took the lead halfway through the second half. It took a late-game surge by the Lady Vees to dump Ryerson 64-50.
The team’s improvement can be attributed to having, on top of Muller, three starters in their graduating year and a handful of decent rookies head coach Sandra Pothier trusted enough to give playing time to, rather than sitting on the bench all year.
Guard Cathy Taylor, a steady ball handler, and forwards Lisa Poulin and Becky Owen, valued for their scoring and rebounding, with all he missed next year.
“If I don’t get OSAP I can’t come to school,” she said. “It depends on how I feel. I never know what I do from today to tomorrow. I’m pretty indecisive.”
One reason the 26-year-old point guard decided to return to Ryerson this year was because of the outstanding group of freshmen coach Pothier and assistant Richard Dean brought into the program.
Pothier said she expects to have another solid group recruits for next year that will complement this year’s rookies.
“I feel if we can plug them in with some of the recruits we’ve been going after we should be in good shape,” she said. “But you never know how that’s going to unfold. If I don’t get any one in, I’ll be in trouble in terms of depths.”
Some of Ryerson’s rookies are already preparing for their sophomore season. Six of them were doing fitness tests in Kerr gym with coach Dean last Thursday, just one week after their season ended.
They are not frightened by the fact they are losing experienced players this year.
“We’re young, but you can expect great things from us,” freshman Tamara Moona said.