By Libaan Osman
It was an atmosphere like none other at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Saturday night.
Two of the top teams in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Central division batted for the Critelli Cup and the Brock Badgers came away with an 84-71 win over the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team.
Led by forward Sam Keltos, who dropped a career-high 42 points and 12 rebounds on 15-25 shooting from the field, the Badgers earned their second OUA title and their first one since 1983.
“[Keltos] had the game of her life,” said Clarke. “That’s pretty special for her and for [Brock] to get a performance like that on a night like this.”
Despite the 13-point loss, Ryerson will be competing in the U Sports Final 8 tournament that is set to take place next week in Ottawa.
This will be the fourth time in program history that the Rams will be competing for a national title and their second straight appearance in the tournament.
Both team’s offence was buzzing in the first quarter, hitting a combined 19 shots.
“I don’t know if that was bad defence or bad offence,” said Clarke. “Two great teams that can really score the ball and I think we saw that for a good chunk of the game.”
Leading the way for Ryerson was senior forward Bronwyn Williams who poured in 10 points and four rebounds on a perfect 5-5 from the field to get things rolling for her squad.
Ryerson jumped out in front with 31-23 early in the second quarter, but their lead soon evaporated as they had no answer for Keltos all game.
In the first half alone, Keltos, a transfer from St. Francis Brooklyn, recorded 26 points as she hit a game-high eight threes. Brock would end the first half, up 44-38.
The Badgers ball movement was on full display, finishing the game with 21 assists as four players recorded at least four assists. OUA MVP and guard Melissa Tatti picked her spots accordingly, closing out the game with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Last time Ryerson and Brock met was back on Feb. 1 with the Rams pulling out an 81-66 win. Things were different for Ryerson in this one.
The team was out-rebounded 48-32 and a wide margin of 23-6 on the offensive glass in what was the most disappointing aspect of the game for coach Clarke.
“That’s a stat we take a lot of pride in. It didn’t hold true for us tonight,” said Clarke. “They got us chasing and moving a little bit defensively. That led to them getting some extra opportunities. We struggled to battle and get the offensive rebounds that we usually get.”
Rams guard Hayley Robertson scored a team-high 22 points on 6-14 from deep.
The team’s focus now shifts to nationals as Ryerson will begin quarterfinals play on Mar. 5.
UP NEXT: Ryerson will travel to Ottawa to begin their quest for a national championship. Follow The Eyeopener’s coverage as we head to nationals to cover the team