Dear women’s basketball team…

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Sports Column

By Noah Love

A couple weeks ago I wrote a column that was interpreted by some members of the Ryerson sporting community as, well not so flattering.

Particularly negative were my views of the depleted women’s basketball team. Two years ago, this team was in the playoffs. Last season they were dogged by injuries all year long and failed to build around Miruana Muller’s all-star season. Now Muller is gone. So is locker-room leader Eva Ain. So what’s left? Plenty of rookies and little experience.

Late Monday night, I arrived in the Kerr West gym to interview some of the team’s personnel for a season preview story. Sitting on the bleachers, one returning player asked me, “Are you Noah Love?” I am a horrible liar, and as such I sheepishly replied, “Uh, yeah.” At this point the player turned around to the rest of the team and screamed, “This guy is Noah Love! We don’t give interviews to him!” Several players shouted their approval.

So, apparently the lady Rams can’t handle criticism (I was going to say constructive criticism, but even I’ll admit that it wasn’t very constructive). Over the past few weeks I’ve learned to admit I can be wrong. The men’s basketball team recruited a better lineup than I could have possible imagined. I have much higher hopes for them than I did a month ago. In this case, though, it seems like my first impressions were pretty much right on.

“We don’t have a superstar or a major play to focus on.” said head coach Sandra Pothier following the Monday night practice. “We’re very young and our lineup has much less experience than other teams in our division, like University of Toronto and Queen’s (University).”

Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like a team that will be at the top of the standings come season’s end. Of course Pothier does add that the team will likely work better together in the absence of a key player, and that his year’s rookies are working hard to establish themselves as bona fide OUA regulars. But in the end, I just can’t ignore what has been lost here: Miruanna Muller.

Muller finished last season leading the team in scoring, assists, and steals. She made the OUA East division all-star and all-defensive teams. This summer she helped Canada defeat the US at the University Games, and now she is playing pro basketball in Israel. Muller accounted for nearly half of the Rams’ scoring last year. Now she is no longer eligible to play, and oh, how this team will miss her.

Still, she openly criticized and constantly fought with her teammates. But she did it to make them better and she did it at the expense of making herself less popular. This team may have gained a lot of size at the post position. It may also have gained much needed speed in its rookie-filled lineup. But I don’t believe they have the talent or personality to replace Muller on the court.

I’m not saying on of this year’s rookies won’t have a breakout season and be the next Ryerson star. It’s just that at this point, the coach is refuting my beliefs on the subject. But then again, I would like to be proved wrong. In fact the Eyeopener will treat the entire team to a free meal if they make a playoff appearance, and each team member can write a personal column about what an ass I am for writing the team off, which we will publish on our website.

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