By Kai Benson
Five free throws are all that separated the women’s basketball from victory on Saturday against the Lakehead Thunderwolves.
Head coach Charles Kissi felt foul shots were the tipping point of the game. Emphatically gesturing towards his stat sheet, he pointed out that both teams shot the same number of foul shots, but Lakehead sunk five more — a painful statistic to swallow.
“I’m asking them to make 75 per cent of free throws, and we shot 43 percent,” he said.
Lakehead’s Tasia McKenna scored 27 to help her team edge out Ryerson 67-62. The Rams’ Ashley MacDonald had 19.
Ryerson took a slight lead early on, finishing the first quarter up two points. Though they played recklessly and gave up a few turnovers, the Thunderwolves looked sluggish and failed to make the transition baskets. Along with their win on Friday, Ryerson’s energy level and team chemistry showed a marked improvement from previous weeks.
The second quarter proved to be more problematic for the Rams. The Thunderwolves picked up many more rebounds and had a higher shooting percentage across the board, allowing them to gain some ground and finish the half up 36-27. The Thunerwolves’ Sarah Gordon was instrumental to the lead, dropping eleven of her thirteen points in the first half, including nine from beyond the arc.
Ryerson made an effort to come back early in the second half, but were stunted when Lakehead made a six-point run to expand their lead. A few key plays from Dayana Gechkova and Angela Tilk, who put up nine points each, helped the Rams close the gap, but they still trailed by ten going into the last period.
The Rams increased their defensive pressure, going into full-court defence and fighting their way back, coming within three points of Lakehead. A few buckets from McKenna seemingly took the Thunderwolves away from danger, but a crucial three from Macdonald put the score at 65-62 with seconds left.
Ryerson fouled in a last ditch effort to tie the game, but McKenna, who did not miss a foul shot all night, went to the line. Those shots left Ryerson down five, and that’s where the game would stay.
“What I’m happy about is that it wasn’t an effort issue. We’re getting better,” Kissi said.
Photo By: Chelsea Pottage