By Chelsea Miya
The Rams women’s basketball team took to the court for the first time this season at their annual tournament, and unfortunately, it showed.
Ryerson’s women’s basketball team kicked off their season last weekend, at the Rams Basketball Classic by losing spectacularly to McMaster University, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Guelph.
The Rams placed last in their tournament, but the team didn’t let the loss dampen their spirits.
“We may have lost,” said Rams’ point guard Kaitlyn Taylor, “but we had a great weekend.
“We’re not just ‘a team.’ We do everything together, practice, studying, hanging out… and because of that we communicate, we listen, we make sure no one is left to deal with a problem on their own. This tournament, we played as a complete and total team.”
It wasn’t enough to win Ryerson a game – they were creamed 92-35 by UBC, finishing last in the Rams Basketball Classic. McMaster won the tournament in a 65-50 victory over UBC.
But amid the swirl of controversy surrounding coach Sandra Pothier, the women’s basketball team played with surprising heart.
“Two of the teams we played, McMaster and UBC, are nationally ranked,” said Taylor. “We’d never get the chance to play them. It was a totally arresting experience. To play against someone at that level is nothing short of amazing.”
The respect was felt on both sides of the court.
“They never gave up,” said UBC captain Cait Haggarty, “and I respect that.”
The Women’s Basketball Classic was the Rams’ first game since five of their players, including Athlete of the Year Amanda Redhead, left the team and walked off the court.
Pothier herself refused to comment, snapping, “I have no business with (The Eyeopener).”
The absence of last year’s players has worked a painful stitch into the muscle of the team. The team could have used help from the five, who won the Rams’ Summer League this past summer, beating squads with players from universities such as York University and U of T.
The UBC Thunderbirds, whose majority of players are at least six feet tall, made short work of the Rams’ defence. The Thunderbirds spent the last few minutes of the game passing the ball back and forth, just out of reach of the Rams.
“We were outsized in every position,” Ryerson assistant coach Greg Henhawk said.
“Ryerson definitely has a height disadvantage,” Taylor said. “But that just means we’ll have to play bigger than we are.”
The Rams’ aggressive offence was spurred by newcomers Sarah Kirkpatrick and Lisa Goldring, who scored eleven points to lead the struggling Rams team in scoring.
During the tournament, Kirkpatrick or Goldring could usually be seen tearing down the court towards the opposing team’s net. But when they got within scoring range, the players seemed to have no idea what they were supposed to do, sinking very few shots.
“We have to start thinking ahead,” said Henhawk. “Be proactive instead of reactive.” Henhawk wouldn’t comment on whether the players who quit would ever consider returning to the team.
“That’s an issue that we don’t like to think about. We’re happy with the players we have now. We just want to move forward.”