By Libaan Osman
The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team held off the York Lions on Wednesday night, securing a 66-61 win to move on to the second round of the OUA playoffs.
With Ryerson up nine with five minutes left to play, York and their rowdy section of fans anticipated a fourth quarter comeback to prevail over the Rams, and their wish nearly came true.
With 1:29 on the clock, the Lions managed to cut their deficit to just three points, but the Rams managed to stay unfazed and remained relentless to put the nail in the coffin for the Lions’ season.
“Obviously it’s a little nervous when they’re catching up like that but I still felt good,” Rams rookie guard Marin Scotten said post-game. “I was confident that we were gonna be able to pull out the win.”
And that’s just what the Rams did.
Poor execution late from York and a perfect cut from Ryerson’s Jama Bin-Edward led to an open layup for the Rams, sealing the game and taming the Lions once and for all.
Ryerson, who was swept in the regular season series against York, didn’t allow themselves to dwell over the past.
“We’ve talked all season about playing in the moment,” head coach Carly Clarke said. “Getting better every single day and trusting our process. I told them before the game that we were ready.”
Trailing by double-digits early on, the Rams found a way to get it going, culminating with an impressive 21-8 run. The Rams then locked in defensively to close the first half, holding the Lions scoreless for the final four minutes to give them a slight two-point lead at halftime.
Hot shooting from Scotten is what kept Ryerson within striking distance, as she scored 13 of her 18 points on a perfect 3-3 from long distance in the first half alone.
Scotten finished the night connecting on four of the Rams’ six three-point attempts, and the team collectively shot 40 per cent from beyond the arc.
Fourth-year guard Cara Tiemens, who struggled to get it going offensively, was still able to make a massive impact for the Rams on the defensive side of the floor.
“I saw a veteran player that’s played in a lot of those games,” Clarke said. “I thought she had tremendous composure, leadership, savvy, and that’s what we’re looking for in veteran players.”
Tiemens had four of the Rams 13 steals as they were able to get the Lions to cough up the ball 25 times on the evening.
Sofia Paska, who was a monster on the glass for the Rams, collected a game-high 18 rebounds to go along with 14 points and 4 assists.
Paska wasn’t the scoring force she usually is but she was able to draw major attention from the opposition, leading to open looks for her teammates. After the game, Clarke applauded Paska’s performance, highlighting her ability to find shooters and be used as a pivot in their offence.
Now rolling with a tight rotation of eight players, the Rams will get ready for the second round of the OUA playoffs against the Carleton Ravens.
UP NEXT: The Rams will head on the road to take on the Carleton Ravens at the Ravens Nest for the quarterfinals. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.