By Gavin Axelrod
The Rams women’s basketball team clinched a 20-0 record and the first U Sports National Championship in program history Sunday night in Kingston, Ont., defeating the University of Winnipeg Wesmen 70-48.
Rachel Farwell led all scorers on the night with 17 points. Additionally, Mikaela Dodig was named a tournament All-Star and Jama Bin-Edward also received All-Star honours along with the Final 8’s MVP award.
“We’ve been working at this as [a] program for a while, but this group of players has been really, really special,” said Rams head coach Carly Clarke. “It means a lot for them to get this moment.”
The Rams led wire-to-wire in Sunday’s contest en route to the championship title. Their defense was key in holding the Wesmen to under 50 points and 1-20 from three-point range in the contest. They also racked up seven steals and 24 defensive rebounds.
Ryerson was also able to keep reigning U Sports women’s basketball Player of The Year Keylyn Filewich at bay for most of the game. The six-foot-one centre scored a mere six points in the first half and only 10 in the game on 3-9 shooting.
“Our defense today was incredible and it fed our offence,” said Clarke.
After three quarters of play, the Rams held a commanding 56-40 lead. This was partly due to fourth-year guard Eve Uwayesu, who led the team with six points in four minutes of action during the frame.
Bin-Edward also chipped in five points during the third quarter and finished with 12 points in the contest on over 50 per cent shooting.
“This is the moment that I wanted and it’s come to the perfect close on my career,” she said. “I just could not be any happier.”
As the end of the fourth quarter loomed, anticipation grew in the building. With the Rams up big on the Wesmen, all the fans in the arena needed to officially get the celebration underway was the sound of the final buzzer.
Rams players stormed the court, Clarke was doused in water by the team and friends embraced on the hardwood. Championship hardware was then handed out and the mesh netting was cut down from the rim to put the bow on a historic run for the program.
“We wanted to win, but we wanted to savour this moment and enjoy the whole game,” said Clarke. “I just thought we had that approach all day and we were confident in our plan and celebrated the right things.”
UP NEXT: The Rams head into the offseason as champions and The Eyeopener will have more on their run to nationals gold in the coming days.