By Brandon Buechler
Well, it couldn’t last forever.
The number-two ranked University of British Columbia Thunderbirds defeated the Ryerson women’s basketball team 81-59 at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Final 8 in Quebec City.
The game, which took place at Laval University, marked the first time Ryerson’s women’s squad had appeared in the CIS Final 8.
“It sucks,” said fourth-year guard Silvana Jez said. “We believed coming into this that we’d be able to play through it but they just showed up better than we did.”
The seventh-ranked Rams couldn’t overcome the Thunderbird’s suffocating defence, nor were they able to contain an explosive Kris Young, who scored a whopping 40 points.
The first and second quarters looked promising for the Rams who, despite a shaky defensive alignment, managed to keep pace with the Thunderbirds, as they appeared to be getting their feet wet.
“I thought we matched up well player to player, but we knew we were in tough against a veteran, experienced team,” Ryerson head coach Carly Clarke said.
At the end of the half, it was clear Young was in for a career game as she scored 26 points but the Rams were only down 39-33. Keneca Pingue-Giles continued to be a leading presence on the team, finishing the half with 11 points.
“When a player like that gets rolling, she’s pretty hard to stop,” Clarke said of Young.
The Thunderbirds began to pull away in the third quarter before putting the game well out of Ryerson’s reach in the fourth, as the Rams tournament-worst field-gold completion percentage had begun to catch up with them.
Ryerson finished the game with a 30 per cent field-goal completion rate to UBC’s 50 per cent. The Thunderbirds also had a 70 per cent three-point completion rate.
Pingue-Giles completed the match with 20 points and eight rebounds while Sofia Paska and Silvana Jez contributed 14 and 10 points respectively.
The women will take on Saint Mary’s Huskies tomorrow in the consolation semi-final game. If they are victorious, the Rams will play again on Saturday, competing for a fifth-place finish in the tournament.
Clarke says the team needs to maintain its identity when facing the Huskies.
“[We just need to] make sure we keep being who we are, which is up-tempo and energetic,” Clarke said. “I think we have a size advantage on them so we’ll try to get the ball inside and play through that.”
With files from Devin Jones.