By Harlan Nemers
In a game that was decided in its final moments, the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team’s inability to convert down the stretch cost them their first loss of the 2011 campaign. The Laurier Golden Hawks (1-0) rallied from a seven point deficit to defeat the Rams (0-1) 63-56 on Friday night at Kerr Hall Gymnasium in the first game of the regular season.
After the Rams’ final timeout, Ryerson guard Jez Silvana made a rookie mistake by taking a contested deep three-pointer instead of passing the ball off to one of her teammates.The shot hit the rim and rolled out of bounds, which all but sealed Ryerson’s fate.
“They weren’t good; we were helping them be good,” said Rams head coach Charles Kissi. “We gave ourselves every chance to lose- bad decisions down the stretch. Everything you don’t want we did in the last three or four minutes.”
The Rams led 12-11 after the first quarter. After a modest run by Laurier, Laura Doyle’s two-on-one layup fuelled a 6-0 run to tie the game at 20-20. MacDonald’s three-pointer gave the Rams a 28-24 lead, which they would keep at the half.
“We could have stepped it up when we needed to,” said first-year centre Skye Johns.
Kelsey Wright’s three-pointer had the Rams back trailing 55-54 with 1:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Laurier played some up-tempo defence which forced Ashley MacDonald to settle for a deep three-pointer that did not go in. The Rams were outscored 27-13 in the loss; their all-time opening day record to 10-21.
“In the beginning we started off well and we set the tone for our game and played our game,” said first-year guard Chloe Mago. “And in the fourth quarter we let them back in the game and they were on fire. Their shots just kept going.”
Although the Rams outshot the Hawks 32 to 31 per cent, what cost them enormously was their free throw shooting- an abysmal 15/26. The nine misses were the difference.
MacDonald led the way with a team-high 18 points, Kelsey Wright chipped in with 13 points and Angela Tilk grabbed a game-high eight boards for a team coming off an OUA Final Four appearance.
“I don’t know where our minds went,” said third-year Wright. “I thought we came out strong. Down the run the thing that killed us was the fouling and executing on the offense.We just have to play like we did in the first three quarters and stick to the plan.”