By Libaan Osman
Ryerson athletics held their Final 8 media kick off Jan. 18 in preparation for the U SPORTS women’s basketball national championship that is less than two months away.
The U SPORTS Final 8 is the official national tournament of Canadian collegiate sports, where the top eight teams in the country square off against each other.
Ryerson is set to host the Final 8 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre through March 7-10. It will be the third time the university is hosting a national tournament in the last five years.
“Ryerson has always proven to be a great host,” U SPORTS Chief Sports Officer Lisette Johnson-Stapley said at the press conference. “We know that Ryerson students will come out, they’ve always demonstrated excitement and a passion for sports.”
The tournament features eight teams across Canada’s four regional membership associations, with the host team receiving an automatic bid.
The four-day event will feature the Rams playing their quarter finals matchup at 6 p.m. on March 7.
The Rams are currently ranked third in the country, tied atop the OUA East with Ottawa Gee-Gees, registering a 14-2 record in the regular season.
Led by fifth-year stars in Sofia Paska and Cara Tiemens, the team has managed to lead the team towards a strong path to the national championship tournament.
Even though the Rams have an automatic bid, they are still eager to earn their spot rather than have it handed to them.
“Our staff, our department and our university have worked really hard to put a team on the court that everyone can be proud of,” Rams women’s basketball head coach Carly Clarke said. “We’re working really hard to make sure that our team isn’t just happy to be in the tournament.”
This is the first time the women’s Final 8 tournament is being held in the city since 1998, when the University of Toronto was the host.
“This is something our student-athletes will remember the rest of their lives,” Ryerson’s interim director of athletics Jeff Giles said.
Admission is free for Ryerson students, while ticket passes for the entire tournament go for $70.50 for adults, $101.50 for courtside seats and $55 for students/seniors.
Single-game ticket prices will be available online.