By Libaan Osman
The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team, who trailed by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, grabbed the lead late but just couldn’t withstand the York Lions smothering defence at the Coca-Cola Court on Wednesday night.
“York played incredibly, physically tough and persistent and they played way harder than us,” said Ryerson head coach Carly Clarke after her team lost 89-78. “We just don’t have a chance when that happens. Credit to them for their effort. I was disappointed in ours.”
Both teams came out with a physical style of play, leading to multiple loose balls and scrappy positional battles throughout the 40-minute match.
The Lions utilized their grit and grind style of play early on, setting the tone to force the Rams to commit 13 turnovers in the first half alone.
Ryerson also amped up the pressure defensively and managed to keep things even, knotting up the game at 20 in the first quarter. It was late in the second quarter when things turned bad for Ryerson, as the Lions began pulling away, going on a 9-2 run to give them a 41-35 lead at halftime.
York carried over its late-second quarter dominance to the third, shooting 50 per cent from the field in the quarter while holding the Rams to just 38.5 per cent. Headed into the fourth, the Lions were up by 12.
Just as the Rams’ perfect 5-0 record at home was about to be snapped, their offence kicked in late. An unexpected 15-1 run to start the fourth gave Ryerson a 67-65 lead midway through the quarter, and it’d be easy to think a comeback victory was soon to come.
Well, if you thought that, you thought wrong.
The Lions responded with their own 24-9 run to end the game, thanks in large part to Lindsay Shotbolt, who scored seven of her 17 points in the last five minutes of the game to help her team secure the 11-point win.
“They punched us back,” said Clarke. “Credit to them for maintaining their composure in that situation.”
Shotbolt, who is ranked sixth in the OUA in scoring and second in rebounding, is averaging 16.3 points and 12 rebounds through 14 games this season for the Lions.
Guard Haley Bowie also gave York a much-needed boost off the bench, pouring in 14 points on 4-8 shooting from deep.
Early on, there was cause for concern for Ryerson when star forward Sofia Paska appeared to be grimacing in pain late in the first quarter as she stood near the locker room. Fortunately for the Rams, Paska returned in the second quarter and played through the pain.
“Her front tooth got chipped in half,” said Clarke. “It was just the tooth that ended up being hurt, no other symptoms but she lost half a tooth.” When asked if Paska could miss time due to this, Clarke didn’t believe so and only expected cosmetic work to be needed.
UP NEXT: The Rams now sit third in the OUA East with a 10-5 record and will take on the Queen’s Golden Gaels on Friday at Coca-Cola Court.