By Natalie Russell
With one game left in the regular season, the women’s basketball team remains neck-and-neck with Ottawa for the last playoff position.
If they had beaten the Gee-Gees on Saturday, Feb. 11, the Rams would have secured a spot in the postseason. Coach Sandra Pothier said that Ottawa is a three-point shooting team, so her strategy was to close out those shooters.
“We know we have strength at our posts, and we’ll try to use that.” The Rams limited Ottawa’s shots and maintained at least a five-point lead through most of the game. However, the long-distance shots from Ottawa were unleashed in the last five minutes, overtaking Ryerson’s lead and dominating the court.
The Rams lost the game 59-47, leaving the last playoff spot up for grabs. “I think in the second half we came out really flat. We weren’t attacking zones, that’s what killed us,” explained fourth-year Justine Navarro. Navarro, who will graduate come April, along with teammate Stephanie Nelson, said, “We have to be more of a threat. We were really tentative towards the net, and made bad decisions as a team.”
Navarro scored 12 points in Saturday’s game, ranking second for Ryerson behind Amanda Redhead for total points. There is still hope for the Rams though, with one more league game on Wednesday (Feb. 15) at the University of Toronto. If Ryerson wins that game and Ottawa loses what should be a close game against Carleton, Ryerson will be on their way to the playoffs. Ryerson showed it can cut it in the playoffs when it defeated third-place team Carleton Ravens 66-61 on Friday, Feb. 11.
Pothier said her team did a good job of passing and shooting the ball. “It was playoff basketball in the first half, and the second half we just held on.” Ryerson went into the two weekend games in sixth place, being one point ahead of Ottawa and one standing above the playoff qualifying line. “Our goal was to make the playoffs, to advance in the playoffs, and we had to beat a top team in order to do so,” Pothier said.
Though this is Navarro’s last chance to make it to Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs, she said, “I don’t know what I think about playoffs. My focus now is just to beat U of T. Just one game at a time.” And for that one and only guaranteed game left, Navarro suggested the Rams work on, “breaking in the press, attacking zones, just being more confident, sticking together, that’s what we need to do.”