By Gavin Axelrod
The Rams women’s basketball team will go for national championship gold at the 2022 U Sports Women’s Final 8 on Sunday evening in Kingston, Ont., after beating the Brock Badgers 64-56 in an overtime thriller on April 2.
Jama-Bin Edward scored a game-high 17 points, including seven in overtime to help secure the semi-final win. The fourth-year forward also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out eight assists en route to a near triple-double.
“Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I scored until I looked at the end of the game,” said Bin-Edward. “I was just able to find the net.”
Saturday’s contest was a physical affair, where neither team wanted to give up an edge. The physicality was exemplified by both squads combining for 27 personal fouls. However, the Rams made good use of their fouls, only allowing Brock 13 attempts at the free-throw line.
“I love when refs let us play and we can be a little bit more physical,” said Bin-Edward. “It’s really fun.”
While the Rams came away with the win Saturday, they found themselves on the wrong end of the score at the end of the first and third quarters. In fact, it’s only the second time this year the Rams have lost the opening frame. However, defensive adjustments were a major part of the victory.
“That was just a key for us,” said Rams head coach Carly Clarke. “Obviously we saw them just a week ago and there were times where we were closing out and we were a little bit flat and we let them get comfortable, so I thought just our length and our active hands disrupted them a little bit more.”
While Rams forward Rachel Farwell torched the University of Prince Edward Island for 25 points on Thursday, she was held to just four points against Brock Saturday afternoon. However, Bin-Edward, along with fellow Rams stars Mikaela Dodig and Kyia Giles, were able to carry the load and together scored 43 of the team’s 64 points in the game.
The Rams’ depth was also on full display, with eight players scoring at least two points.
“Different people step up on different days and that’s what makes our team special and difficult [to play],” said Clarke.
As the focus turns to Sunday’s final, the Rams will face either the University of Winnipeg Wesmen or the tournament host—Queen’s Gales. Ryerson has beat the Gaels three times this year.
On the other hand, Winnipeg plays in the Canada West Conference, meaning the Rams haven’t faced them this season. The Wesmen are a talented group that finished second in their conference and are home to reigning U Sports women’s basketball Player of The Year Keylyn Filewich.
However, regardless of who they play, for Clarke and the Rams, it’s about staying true to their identity.
“At this point, you are who you are and it’s gonna come down to who can be better at who they are tomorrow,” said Clarke.
UP NEXT: It all comes down to Sunday’s final, where the Rams will look to cap off an undefeated season with a national championship title. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.