By Harlan Nemerofsky
Cassandra “Ceejay” Nofuente of the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team is headed for Humber College.
The reigning Ontario University Athletics (OUA) east division rookie of the year is no longer a member of the Ryerson Rams, head coach Carly Clarke confirmed Friday afternoon.
“She made the decision at the end of the summer,” said Clarke. “We needed to make a better academic fit for her so we talked through a couple options and decided that that was the best one for her this year.”
Nofuente averaged 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game last year, becoming the first Ryerson Ram in the women’s basketball program to ever win the OUA rookie of the year honour in the process.
“Certainly, her ability to create and handle the basketball is quite a skill that we’ll have to make up for,” said coach Clarke. “She was able to break down a lot of defenses by herself one-on-one so now we’ve got to find ways of doing it more as a team.”
The Rams, who will have 12 of 16 players on their roster either in their first or second year of eligibility, had already lost shooting guard Kelcey Wright and power forward Angela Tilk due to their pursuit of Master’s degrees.
Wright will suit up for her final year of eligibility with the Western Mustangs this season while Tilk has joined the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“With Tilk, she was with the team but she didn’t play last year [due to injury], so to me that’s no real change,” said Clarke. “Losing both Kelcey and Ceejay – we lose a lot of scoring, and with Ceejay we lose a lot of taking care of the basketball.”
Clarke says that she expects second-year Chloe Mago, and first-years Julia Robertson and Laura Gaskin to compete for the starting point guard this year for the Rams.
“We’re relying on a lot of youth and there might be growing pains through that,” said Clarke. “But our depth is exciting and I think we’re really going to come together as the year comes on.”