Ryerson’s women’s basketball team defeated the Laurier Golden Hawks 60-59 in a thriller Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Annie Sokoloff had 19 points, Silvana Jez had 10 rebounds and Kenesha Pingue-Giles nearly had a double-double with eight rebounds and seven points, as the Rams (2-2) won their second straight game.
“It was about determination [and] toughness,” said Rams head coach Carly Clarke. “We knew that they were going to keep coming at us. We stayed disciplined and made some plays when we needed to make some plays.”
Strong defensive play defined the first quarter, with each team doing an excellent job of preventing the opposition from driving to the net before the Rams emerged with a modest 18-14 lead after ten minutes of play.
“They have kids that can really score, that can really shoot it,” said Clarke. “I thought we did a good job with defending how we planned to defend, so that was positive.”
In the second quarter, the teams continued to play a tight, evenly-matched game, though the Hawks managed to squeeze out two points in the dying seconds of the half to take a slim 30-28 lead into the dressing room.
But the Rams came out strong in the third, and used an early 10-6 run, coupled with a few key defensive blocks and rebounds, to storm back and take a 49-46 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
“We generally don’t have a very strong third quarter, and we knew they were a good, strong third-quarter team,” said Sokoloff. “So we came out hard after the half and that really set us off.”
Laurier tied the game in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, and the teams continued to trade chances before finding themselves tied 55-55 with four minutes left to play.
The lead changed hands twice in the final three and half minutes before the Golden Hawks drained a three-point shot to go up 59-58 with 7.3 seconds left on the clock and force Ryerson to call a time-out.
On the ensuing throw-in, the Rams used a designed play as Nicole DiDomenico made a cross-court pass to a wide-open Pingue-Giles, who made the lay-up to give the Rams two points and a 60-59 lead as time expired.
“I was so scared,” said Pingue-Giles as she recalled the play with a laugh. “I shot it so hard off the backboard, I thought it wasn’t going to go in, but it did so I’m glad about that.”
The game was the second home game in as many nights for Ryerson, who defeated the Waterloo Warriors on Friday night.
The Rams have now drawn even on the season, and sit fourth in the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) east division as they head into next week’s contest against the Windsor Lancers looking to extend their winning streak.
“I think it’s huge in the standings,” said Clarke. “A couple teams got wins last weekend, maybe unexpectedly a little bit, and I think it gives us some confidence going forward, seeing the work we’re putting in and the details we’re emphasizing are starting to pay off, so hopefully we’ll carry it forward.”
Ryerson will take on the Lancers on Friday, Nov. 15 at at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in the third match-up of the Rams’ current four-game home stand.