By Anthony Lopopolo
The women’s basketball team was poised to cover new ground this weekend, when they had a chance to take first place in the OUA East division.
But they didn’t pass the test, losing to Queen’s University 69-65. Whether the team finally met a contender in league action or if they were victims of unknown circumstances, the Rams have dropped to fourth place.
Now at 7-5 and caught in a threegame losing skid, the team is prepping for a pivotal game against the division-leading Carleton Ravens this Friday in Kerr Hall Upper Gym. It could very well determine if Ryerson has a true contender on its hands, or an inflated one.
The Rams haved posted a programbest 6-2 start to this season. Beneath all the high-fives and backslaps that come with great improvement, there are always whispers about the quality of the competition when there was little offseason change to the struggling women’s team.
Head coach Sandy Pothier dismisses the idea that the team has experienced an easy ride this season.
“All the teams are evenly matched. I don’t find [the opposition] too different from last year,” said Pothier.
Pothier attributes the team’s newfound success to the maturation of last season’s rookies and the continuity that has been able to exist without a dramatic flux of new faces. No more than four personnel changes were made in their 13-person roster, with a core of nine players maintaining their spot from the previous year.
But it does beg the question of whether the Rams have benefited from a light schedule.
In six of 11 games, Ryerson has been pitted against teams which are currently below .500 or are known to be perennial basement dwellers. Ryerson’s wins against Waterloo, Laurier, Guelph and RMC — all of which own losing records were blowouts with a 13- to 40-point scoring margin.
That question, in Pothier’s mind, isn’t valid. She cites the Rams’ win against UBC, the No. 10 outfit in the country, in the school’s Darcel Wright preseason tournament and the team’s overtime loss to the No. 2 Windsor Lancers last November as bona fide examples of their potential.
“In terms of every other game we’ve played, each one has been tough,” she said.
“We host one of the premier tournaments in the country. We always bring in some of the best teams in Canada, and we competed very well in our tournament and finished in fifth spot.”