By Chris Blanchette
The Ryerson women’s basketball team advanced to the CIS championship by upsetting top-seeded McGill University 87-72, Saturday afternoon.
Keneca Pingue-Giles proved once again why she was named the CIS Player of the Year by recording a near triple-double.
“Keneca is the heart of the team. She’s the MVP all the time, you’re always satisfied with her and you can always expect the best from her,” said Rams forward Siki Jez.
Pingue-Giles amassed 20 points (8-15), eight rebounds and seven assists, while Jez had 16 points of her own.
Ryerson dominated the physical aspect of the game, out rebounding McGill 33-32 and scoring 44 points in the paint while holding McGill to only 24.
“In the past we’ve been coming out with a defensive mindset, that got us through the OUA playoffs and we knew that we had to bring that today because it’s the one thing that’s going to get us through to the finals,” said Jez.
The Rams took a 45-28 lead heading into half and never looked back. At the 7:52 mark in the third quarter the lead had ballooned to 23 points. Every McGill run seemed to be answered with a transition basket or a cold-blooded three-pointer. The Rams shot 45.6 per cent from the floor and 35.7 per cent (5-14) from three-point range.
As the third quarter winded down, Pingue-Giles came off of a screen and kicked the ball out to Jez on the wing. Jez caught the ball and drained a last second three-pointer to halt the momentum that McGill had built up. Ryerson would carry a 68-48 lead into the final quarter.
The fourth was much of the same. As it drew to a close and McGill’s starting five began to check out it became clear that Ryerson would emerge victorious. As the Ryerson Ram-Pack cheered loudly to the left of the Rams bench and the clock ticked down from 10, the crowd erupted. Ryerson was off to the CIS championship.
“I’m so proud of the kids for seeing their hard work pay off and getting to enjoy these moments,” said head coach Carly Clarke.
With this upset of number-one ranked McGill, the Rams punch their ticket to the CIS Championship game against Saskatchewan tomorrow at 1 p.m. ADT.
“Everyone is so invested in us, what we were able to do. The city itself, Toronto, the school, the community – it’s amazing,” said Jez.
And with a win tomorrow afternoon, the Rams will be able to add the rest country to that list of those invested in what this Rams team has been able to accomplish so far this season.