By Joel Wass
Ryerson’s women’s basketball team is renowned for sideline chanting, but they were left singing the blues last Saturday following a 78-73 overtime loss to the University of Toronto.
The game was not a must-win, but the Rams have been hoping to run-over the inter-city rival since the Varsity Blues eliminated them in the Ontario University Athletics finals last year.
“Our veterans who know the history about the rivalry with U of T really felt disappointed especially when we know we could have dug a bit deeper,” said Teaka Grizzle, who led Ryerson with 20 points.
Although they were defeated, the Rams’ strong offensive performance was impressive, especially considering they were hardly at full strength.
Starting guard Ashley Keohan was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder. The third-year business management student’s injury stems from her days in gymnastics. The Rams were also missing back-up forward Jodie Collins.
“I was tough with Ashley being out and not having Jodie there for put backs and to get the boards for us,” says Grizzle, who nailed four of her six three-point attempts. “I knew I was going to have to have a big game with those two out,” she says.
The Rams’ hearts were broken over the loss, but the team was happy to see last year’s leading scorer Tamara Alleyne-Gittens finally break out.
After a slow start to the season, the top 10 athlete showed flashes of her formerly-dominating self by scoring 20 points and graving eight rebounds.
“I’m praying [her improved play] will continue because we really need it now, especially with Ashley hurt,” says Grizzle, Ryerson’s captain. “Big T needs to step up.”
Unfortunately for the Rams, it was Grizzle who didn’t quite step up for them in crunch time on Saturday. She missed a crucial freethrow in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. Grizzle, a normally reliable defender, was also beaten to the basket on more than one occasion.
“I was doing it offensively, but I was getting beat defensively,” says Grizzle, who logged more than 38 minutes of playing time. “People were missing lay ups, there was a wack of turnovers and I was thinking of what I needed to do to cut down on both those things. I was just thinking too much.”
Grizzle has lots of time to think before the U of T rematch. Ryerson doesn’t travel to St. George and Bloor until Feb. 21, in the Rams’ final match of the regular season.
“In that game, I’m scoring more than 20,” says Grizzle. “Ashley is going to take the pressure off of me, which is going to make it easier for me to score. I also have something to prove defensively. I’m still the best defensive player in the OUA East.”