By Libaan Osman
OTTAWA—A year filled with adversity, the Ryerson women’s basketball team fought until the very end but their season came to a close after an 87-64 loss to the Calgary Dinos in the U Sports Final 8 consolation semi-finals.
It was an emotional Friday afternoon for graduating players Hayley Robertson, Bronwyn Williams and Emma Fraser, who played their last game as a Ram.
To head coach Carly Clarke, they’ve left a lasting impact on the program.
“All three of them have just left our culture, our team in a better place than when they arrived,” said Clarke. “They’ve been really really easy to coach. They’re low maintenance, they do what’s expected, they come in and work hard every day [and] they’re great teammates. They will certainly be missed.”
A back-and-forth match early on saw both teams tied at 45 after the second quarter. Robertson, who lit things up in the four quarter of yesterday’s national quarter-finals, continued her strong performance into the consolation semi-finals.
The fifth-year guard dropped nine points in the first quarter to give Ryerson a 10-3 lead to open things up.
“Hayley is one of the best first-team leaders we’ve ever had,” said Clarke. “We had a disappointing loss yesterday and I think she was just inspired from that game.”
Robertson finished the afternoon with a game-high 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Calgary would quickly respond though, pressuring Ryerson in the full court, as they looked to wear down a depleted team that played only six players in yesterday’s loss and had been dealing with injuries all season long.
In their last game of the year, Rams head coach Carly Clarke would go nine deep into her rotation. For the first time this season, Eleanor Jones checked into the game for Ryerson with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
Jones hasn’t hit the court since November 2018 against Western. Clarke said post-game that Jones had dressed for a couple of regular season games but they didn’t have the opportunity to get her out there.
Shortly after checking in into the game, Jones would score her first basket of the season at the free throw line as Ryerson’s entire bench stood on their feet and applauded the six-foot-two forward.
Jones played nine minutes and shined in Ryerson’s final game of the season, dropping seven points and two rebounds on 3-4 shooting.
“She’s been working hard to return from injury and was finally feeling good enough,” said Clarke. “It was great to get a glimpse of what she can look like in the future.”
The third quarter was all Dinos, outscoring the Rams 25-10 as they held them to just one field goal during almost a five-minute span in the frame.
Calgary had four players finish in double-digits scoring as Reyna Crawford led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds on 7-9 shooting from the field to help advance her team to the consolation finals.
This is the sixth time in program history that Ryerson has faced Calgary. Their last meeting was back in October 2015, where the Rams pulled out an 89-79 win.
Once again, the Rams were without forward Rachel Farwell due to a sprained ankle.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had more injuries in one season,” said Clarke. “Those are things that happen sometimes but nothing stopped this team. The fact that we get to this tournament and develop some more great experience, this team earned getting here and they deserved it.”
As the 2019-20 season comes to a close for the Ryerson women’s basketball team, the future still looks bright.
Most of the roster is set to return next year with forward Jama-Bin Edward, who’s been sidelined with a season-ending injury, expected to be back alongside guard Marin Scotten.