"If you could get out of the way so I can throw the ball inbounds, that'd be great."

Photo: Steve Petrick

Grizzle and Co. maul Thunderwolves

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Improved shooting against Lakehead helps Rams come back from home opener loss to Mac

By Joel Wass

Two years ago, Teaka Grizzle established herself as a strong defensive player for the Ryerson women’s basketball team.

This year, Grizzle is showing that she is now a legitimate threat on the other side of the ball.

“I’m the type of players that looks to feed off my teammates,” said Grizzle. “But I’m definitely starting to look for my shot a lot more.”

Grizzle showed off her scoring touch on Saturday with a 14-point contribution to the Rams’ impressive 76-63 win over the visiting Lakehead University Thunderwolves.

“This shows that we’re starting to jell as a team, because I’m definitely not known for my scoring,” said Grizzle, a second-year business management student.

Point guard Karina Navarro is another Ram who has added a new dimension to her already impressive basketball repertoire.

Navarro, the Rams’ best outside shooter, finished with a season-high five rebounds against the less than fearsome Thunderwolves.

“My scoring and assists have always been there,” said Navarro. “Rebounding is something I especially have tried to improve on for this year.”

Navarro had 19 points and has scored over 10 points in every game she has played this year.

She wasn’t even the Rams’ best shooter Saturday night. Post player Tamara Alleyne-Gittens netted 21 points.

The team as a whole shot 45 per cent from the field.

Perhaps most impressive about Saturday’s offensive display is that it came a day after the Rams’ 53-40 home loss to McMaster University. Against the Marauders, Ryerson scored on only 26 per cent of their shots.

“That showed our youth and our inexperience,” said head coach Sandy Pothier. “We need to learn to relax and take our time. Sometimes, it’s as simple as just believing the ball is going to go in the basket.”

After the loss, Pothier told her players they needed to significantly improve their shot selection if they wanted to notch a win against Lakehead.

“A couple of us came in early on Saturday morning before the game to practice shots, which is something we don’t normally do,” Grizzle said.

Pothier said the impressive shooting game against Lakehead is evidence that the extra work paid off.

“It was nice to see everybody chip in. It’s always important that we have a balance attack,” said Pothier, now in her 10th year as Ryerson coach.

Now that the Rams remember how to put the ball in the net, Navarro says the next step is to learn how to prevent opponents from putting it in.

“Our defence tends to lag in the second half and that’s something that has to stop,” she said.

If Ryerson, now 2-2, have any questions on how to play solid defence, they don’t need to look any further than teammates Grizzle for answers.

“Defence is what I’m known for,” Grizzle said. “If we are mentally prepared, this team is only going to get better.”

Last year, it took the Rams until Jan. 19 to notch their second victory. The 42-32 win, against the Carleton University Ravens, was the ninth game of the season. The Rams finished 5-15. This year, they are keeping themselves on pace with the best teams in the OUA east division.

The Rams play the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Friday and the Queen’s University Golden Gaels on Saturday. Both games start at 6 p.m.

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