By Raphael Chahinian
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold dominated the Algoma University Thunderbirds to get their first win of the regular season at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Saturday afternoon.
With both teams looking for their first win of the season, the energy was immeasurable and first-year guard Kait Nichols was more than happy to see it. Nichols finished the day with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Her rebounding total tied former Bold forward Bronwyn Williams for the fifth-most boards pulled down in a game in program history.
“Our energy was up the whole game, I felt through the whole game, (the) bench energy and the people on the court, it was just through the roof,” said Nichols.
The Bold came out looking strong and well prepared with multiple baskets from up-close and they forced several turnovers by trapping the opposing team’s ball handlers. While the bold kept the pressure up, Algoma responded with perfectly timed cuts to the basket for easy makes.
The first frame was a back and forth battle, ending with a score of 26-23 in favour of the Bold.
In the second quarter, TMU put their foot on the gas and never looked back, getting steal after steal which generated countless open looks for them. The Bold were dominant on both ends, holding Algoma to just six points in the entire quarter.
“We had to be better defensively, we gave up 23 in the first quarter and we gave up 17 for the rest of the game,” said head coach Carly Clarke. “Once we cleaned that up it made a big difference.”
The third quarter was a continuation of the defensive masterclass that the Bold were putting on with multiple eight second violations that deflated Algolma’s offense.
“Defence is a main thing on our team. It’s defence before offence, and defence is creating our offence,” said second-year guard Jayme Foreman. “Using that to push us forward really got us going.”
With the Bold’s defence firing on all cylinders, the offense was smooth sailing with transition layups along with and-one opportunities which led to the quarter ending with a score of 70-33.
Going into the final frame, the energy was high with the Bold just minutes away from securing their first regular season win since last year. The Thunderbirds continued to run set plays to open up their offense, but they were unsuccessful with the Bold smothering any and all shot attempts near the basket.
The Bold’s starting lineup combined for seven blocks throughout the game and forced the opposition into shooting just 27 per cent from the field.
“During most of our practices we spend a majority of the time working on our defence and I think that today it really showed,” said Foreman.
With the Bold’s confidence soaring, they shifted their game from mostly transition layups to a half-court offense to give good looks to open shooters. TMU never let up and won the game with a final score of 91-40.
The Bold have a four game road stretch and won’t return to the MAC until Jan. 4, 2023.
“It feels good to get the win for the last game, but now we have to go into their gyms and play our same kind of basketball,” said Nichols.
UP NEXT: The Bold head on the road for their final four games of 2022. Their next matchup comes Nov. 25 at Laurentian University and tip-off is set for 6 p.m.