By Josh Beneteau
A slow start led to an exciting finish for the Ryerson women’s basketball team (5-12). But it wasn’t enough to beat the Ottawa University Gee-Gees (12-5), who won 59-57 on Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
After the first quarter ended with the teams tied 8-8, Ryerson picked up speed and came within a single point multiple times during the final 10 seconds.
“We knew that they were a team we could compete with,” head coach Carly Clarke said. “We worked on some specific things defensively in practice, which allowed us to keep it close.”
The game opened with a lot of missed shots for both teams. Three minutes in, Ottawa lead 2-0, but Ryerson’s strong defence kept the ball out of their net.
“Both teams set the tone defensively and both teams missed some shots early on,” head coach Clarke said. “We eventually found the flow and I think that’s what you’re going to see in a lot of OUA games.”
Mariah Nunes led the Ram with a career high 29 points, including a remarkable 16-21 from the free-throw line. Silvana Jez and Keneca Giles each finished with 10 points.
“Honestly, this is what I want to do,” Nunes said. “Not just the 29 points, but my intensity on defence and my work with my teammates.”
At one point the Gee-Gees led 45-30 and seemed to be in control of the game.
“We’ve really been preaching toughness and understanding [that] it’s going to be 40 minutes of our defensive pressure that [will] put us in a position to win the game,” head coach Clarke said. “You could see it more as we got closer and closer to the end and we ultimately ran out of time.”
The crowd was pretty empty to start the game, but as people came in for the men’s game, the fans got really loud. Every time Ryerson inched towards tying the game, the noisemakers were out in full force to support the home team.
Nunes said it was exciting to have the fans behind them to help with their comeback.
“I could hear people calling my name,” she said. “It was a little distracting, but it was so motivating.”
The Rams currently hold the last playoff spot with Laurentian only two points behind. Next they play the conference leading Carleton University Ravens on Saturday.
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