By Kintaro Skinner
In the semifinals of the annual Darcel Wright Memorial Classic, the Ryerson women’s basketball team secured a 71-53 win over the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds to advance to the finals on Oct. 19.
Rams guard Leyki Sorra led the team in scoring with 15 points while forward Bronwyn Williams added 13.
The Rams were aggressive offensively from the start, running their offence like a well-oiled machine. Ball movement, off-ball screens and cuts to the rim led to many easy buckets for almost every player on the court.
“The fact that we’re working together, [getting] those stops, really just contributed to our runs and back cuts and our speed,” said Sorra.
The win now puts Ryerson in the Darcel Wright Memorial Classic championship game where they’ll face the Saskatchewan Huskies. They’ll be seeking their second straight tournament title after defeating McMaster in last year’s final by a score of 79-68.
Right from the get-go, the Rams were in the Thunderbirds face with great communication and active hands. After giving up 71 points to Alberta in their previous matchup, they followed that up with multiple defensive possessions leading to steals and blocks.
“It was really just bringing the team together again and just talking through things, just being able to maintain our composure in the tough moments to get us to be successful again,” said Williams.
The third quarter appeared to produce more of that same effort from Ryerson. They pushed their lead to 20, thanks to a Taite Cleland three-pointer from the right-wing with eight minutes left in the period.
But shortly after, UBC was able to cut into that deficit, going on a 12-2 scoring run led by forward Keylyn Filewich. Filewich finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, although it didn’t come easy.
“I don’t think we stopped her, she still had 19 points but she turned it over seven or eight times. We were just trying to make sure we did some early work and get the ball out of her hands when she got it in there,” said Rams head coach Carly Clarke.
With Ryerson scoring at ease, UBC went to a 2-3 zone to try to negate their inside presence. Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, it played right into the hands of Sorra, who ended the night shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc.
“Zone is the best to play against, especially as a shooter,” said Sorra. It was just a really good opportunity for our team to get some shots up and get rebounds as well.”
UBC attempted a comeback with an 11-3 run in the fourth, but Ryerson weathered the storm and eventually cruised to their sixth straight preseason win.
“I think we just got tired and flustered,” said Sorra. “In the timeout, Carly just told us to take a breath, regroup, keep up the communication and just keep working as hard as we could.”
UP NEXT: Ryerson will face the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the final. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.