No. 8 ranked Rams women’s basketball team closes out 2021 undefeated

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By Jack MacCool

It was a battle of nationally ranked programs on Saturday, Dec. 4 as the No. 8 ranked Rams women’s basketball team defeated the No. 10 ranked Queen’s Gaels 71-62, at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). 

Ryerson’s offence was a balanced attack with four starters scoring in double digits. Rachel Farwell led the way with 16 points along with seven rebounds and three steals.  

The Rams also got a strong contribution from guard Jama Bin-Edward who added eight points as well as strong defence and contagious hustle. Bin-Edward was playing in just her second game this season after returning from an ACL tear she suffered in 2020.  

“It feels really really good to be back finally,” said Bin-Edward. “It’s been a long road, so it’s just so nice to be back.” 

Saturday’s contest marked the Rams second game against the Gaels this season, after a three point victory in their first meeting on Nov. 5. With the win, the Rams will enter the winter break undefeated with a perfect 6-0 record.  

The first quarter started strong with both teams showing high intensity on the defensive end. The Gaels brought full-court pressure while Ryerson was able to force Queen’s into six turnovers in the opening frame. 

Offensively, the Rams were able to get out to a quick start, grabbing an early 9-2 lead. However, the Gaels battled back cutting the lead to five with three minutes to play. Rams guard Marin Scotten led all scorers with seven points as her team led the Gaels 19-11 after one. 

The second started with great offensive execution by both teams. Queen’s opened the scoring with a beautiful driving layup which was immediately answered by a Farwell three-pointer, extending the lead to 11 for the Rams.  

Although they had success to start the second, both teams struggled with their offence at the midway point of the quarter. Neither team was able to make a big impact on the Rams lead.  

With just under three minutes left in the half, Rams’ forward Stefanija Mrvaljevic hit a deep three to break the cold spell. Shortly after, Farwell delivered two impressive layups over Queen’s bigs to bring the lead back to double-digits. A three pointer off of beautiful ball movement by Queen’s cut the lead to seven entering halftime.

Entering the second half, the Rams had to limit Queen’s second chance opportunities as the Gaels scored more than one third of their first half points off of second chance looks. In addition, the Rams generated 11 points off of turnovers in the first half to Gaels’ two.

It was clear both programs wanted to up the pace entering the third quarter as they combined for 17 points in just three minutes of play. Halfway through the third, the Rams led the Gaels 48-38.

The Gaels battled hard in the third quarter as they continued their success on the offensive backboard. But a three pointer from Rams guard Mikaela Dodig as well as increased defensive focus from the home side helped them survive the push from Queen’s. 

The Rams’ led 53-44, entering the final frame.  

Saturday’s final stanza started with the Rams forcing a shot clock violation as they pressured Gaels ball handlers around the perimeter. A crucial and-one for Queen’s centre Sophie de Goede cut the lead to eight with eight minutes to play.  

Despite the Rams success on offence in the fourth, Queen’s wouldn’t go away. The Gaels continued their success right at the rim, cutting the Rams’ lead to six with three minutes remaining.  

It was a strong defensive effort that would seal the deal for Ryerson, not allowing Queen’s to secure rebounds and close out possessions. A huge block from Scotten would be the exclamation point on the nine point victory for the Rams. 

The win over a top ten ranked program for Ryerson and its 6-0 record will only lead to further discussion that the Rams may be better than their number eight ranking indicates. However, it’s not something they’re too worried about right now. 

“If anything, our goal is not to be number one on Dec. 5, our goal is to be there in February and March,” said Rams head coach Carly Clarke. “We’re just focused on that and if there’s something that can fuel our fire then we will take anything we can get, but I don’t think we need much because this team is very focused.”

UP NEXT: The Rams welcome the Laurier Golden Hawks on Jan. 7 to ring in the new year. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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