By Donald Higney
The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team is heading to the U Sports Final 8 national tournament after a thrilling 84-76 road win against the No. 3 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees at Montpetit Hall on Feb. 26.
Clutch shot after clutch shot was the theme of the fourth quarter between the Rams and Gee-Gees as both teams were vying for a U Sports Final 8 berth.
Rams fifth-year point guard Hayley Robertson got things going early, connecting on three triples to get things started.
Robertson finished the game with 20 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Both herself and Marin Scotten played the entire 40 minutes.
With the eight-point win, Ryerson has punched their ticket to the U Sports Final 8 tournament. This is the fourth time in the last six years that the Rams have qualified for nationals.
Ryerson will also be hosting the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships this Saturday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in a game against the Brock Badgers for the Critelli Cup. The last time the team won the Critelli Cup was back in 2015-16.
After being up 24-8 with less than four minutes left in the first quarter, the Rams let the Gee-Gees crawl back into the game with a 16-2 run. The offence ground to a halt, with the Rams taking four shot-clock violations in the quarter.
Despite the run by Ottawa, Ryerson managed to hold onto a lead for most of the game. Wide-open shots from guard Savannah Provo kept the Gee-Gees within striking distance as they grabbed a 36-35 lead—their first of the night—heading into the second half.
Tough shots from forward Stefanija Mrvaljevic and Bronwyn Williams kept the Rams offense moving while free throws from forward Angela Ribarich kept the Gee-Gees floating. Ribarich scored a team-high 17 points and shot 8-10 from the charity stripe.
The team traded the leads back and forth for the rest of the third, with neither team leading by more than three points. Another clutch triple from Robertson gave Ryerson a 56-53 lead going into the final quarter. There were six ties and 10 lead changes in the game.
It took almost two minutes for one of the teams to score, but that’s when Scotten drilled a three to push the Rams lead to six. Scotten ended the game with 16 points, six offensive rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
At the halfway point in the quarter, the Rams found themselves down again. Fortunately for them, that was the last time the team trailed in the game.
Mrvaljevic, a 15.8 per cent three-point shooter on the season, hit a clutch three at the 4:37 mark to give the team a 66-65 lead.
Ottawa would respond with a three, but the best three-point shooting team in the OUA wasn’t phased. Rachel Farwell and Robertson helped put Ryerson up by four late.
The team went six for eight from the line in the final minute of the game while Ottawa’s late-game execution left a lot to be desired.
Along with Scotten and Robertson, Farwell also scored in double-digits. The second-year forward dropped a game-high 21 points on 6-10 shooting from the field.
UP NEXT: Ryerson will host the Critelli Cup championships on Feb. 29 at the MAC with the visiting Brock Badgers. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m.