By Matt Vocino
The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team weren’t able to pull off the upset in their quarterfinal matchup on March 7, as they lost 71-53 to the no.1 ranked Laval Rouge et Or at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The loss knocks the hosts out of the championship bracket, after they received a berth to the tournament as the eight seed for being the home team.
Fifth-year guard and 2019 U SPORTS Player of the Year, Sarah-Jane Marois, guided her Laval to victory after dropping a game-high 17 points, while Hayley Robertson dropped 16 points in 25 minutes to lead Ryerson.
“I think there is a lot of things to learn from today’s game and it’s really just about compete, and toughness, staying together,” said Robertson. “I was proud of our team’s grit and tenacity when things were down.”
After a passionate introduction, the Rams opened the game strong, jumping out to a quick 6-2 run on the back of second-year guard Jama Bin-Edward, who scored each of the Rams’ first three baskets. However, the home team would quickly relinquish their small margin to Laval, who would go on to find their rhythm offensively.
Laval would outscore the Rams 11-2 in the final four minutes of the quarter, closing out the first with a 20-11 lead.
The second quarter would be much like the first for the Rams, who would continue to struggle offensively, scoring a mere 8 points in the frame. Laval would go into the half with a 32-19 lead.
But, the Rams would come out of the break with a new found energy, stopping Laval on their opening three possessions, while making some shots of their own to trim the deficit to seven at one point.
The Quebec Student Sport Federation (RSEQ) champions would respond with their own mini-run, hitting two of their eight three-point attempts to restore their double-digit lead.
They would later increase their margin over Ryerson to 17 after Marois’s jumper beat the buzzer to close the third quarter with a commanding 52-35 lead.
In the fourth, things wouldn’t get any better for the home squad, as the Rouge et Or would score 21 points in the final 10 minutes, sending the Ryerson faithful home disappointed.
While the Rams battled throughout the entire game, the combination of Laval’s strong two-way game and their poor offensive performance was too much to overcome. The Rams only shot 31% from the field, while also not making a single shot from behind the arc.
“We tried to win the rebound battle,” said Laval head coach and 2019 U SPORTS Coach of the Year Guillaume Giroux. ”They’re tall, they’re physical, and I think we did that well the first half.”
In addition to winning the rebound battle 47-36, Laval also recorded more blocks and recorded eight more assists than Ryerson.
While the Rams’ quest for a U SPORTS banner is now over, the club will face off against the Regina Cougars tomorrow night in the consolation semi-final.
“We just want to make sure that we finish off the weekend strong and make sure that we’re playing for [Sofia Paska, Cara Tiemens and Katherine Follis],” added Bin-Edward.
UP NEXT: The Rams will take on the Regina Cougars in the consolation semi-final on March 8. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.