By Libaan Osman
The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team capped off 2017 with a bang, taking down the Lakehead Thunderwolves 81-62 at Coca Cola Court on Saturday night to earn their seventh consecutive win heading into the winter break.
Ryerson opened the game on a 9-0 run, fuelled by seven points from the ever-reliable Cara Tiemens. Soon, star forward Sofia Paska got going, with the Rams feeding her in the paint to generate easy baskets.
“It’s usually the game plan every game,” Paska said in regards to getting established in the paint early. “Just trying to get it in to me cause then if they double-team I already know one of my teammates is open. We’re always passing, moving the ball and looking for great shots.”
Thanks in large part to that 9-0 run, the Rams led comfortably by double digits for most of the first half, ending the first quarter with a 22-9 advantage.
After shooting an abysmal 4-19 from the field in the first quarter, the Thunderwolves improved in the second, shooting 44.4 per cent to cut Ryerson’s lead to nine at the end of the first half. Also, the road team was able to remain in striking distance due to their offensive rebounding, grabbing an impressive 13 by halftime.
Lakehead tried to make an early push to start the second half, but the Rams made sure that a potential comeback from the Thunderwolves was short-lived, beginning the second half on a dominant 19-8 run to give themselves a 57-37 lead with over three minutes to play in the third.
It was quite apparent early on that Lakehead had no answer for Paska, as the forward had her way, finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds. The two-time All-OUA forward currently ranks second in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) in scoring, averaging 20.1 points per game along with 9.3 rebounds. Paska recently reached the milestone of 1,000 career points, and she’s enjoying her best season yet.
“It feels just great,” Paska said. “I’m just honored that all my hard work has paid off. I’m just really happy about it.”
After starting the season 1-2, the Rams now sit with an 8-2 record having won seven straight games to the end the first half of the season.
Freshman guard Jama Bin-Edward, who poured in a career-high 21 points to go along with five offensive rebounds and four steals against Lakehead, credits head coach Carly Clarke for the turnaround.
“I think we’re just getting better and better every game and making sure we just stick to the game plan and executing our plays correctly.” she said.
During their seven-game win streak, Ryerson’s been playing well enough to compete with Carleton and Queen’s, who are ahead of the Rams with 10-0 and 9-1 records, respectively.
Over the winning streak, the Rams have averaged 77.4 points per game, better than Carleton’s league-best rate (76.3) over the course of the season. The Rams have also been equally impressive on the boards, grabbing 46.8 rebounds throughout the streak, better than Queen’s league-leading 46.1.
Heading into winter break, the Rams are firing at all cylinders, and will return to action on Jan. 5 for a matchup with the undefeated Carleton Ravens for the team’s biggest test thus far.
Up Next: Ryerson and Carleton have yet to play this year, but will meet on Jan. 5 to open the second half of the season. The Rams will visit the Ravens Nest, with tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m.