By Harsh Kumar
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s basketball team fell 57-73 against the Saskatchewan Huskies in the 35th annual Darcel Wright Memorial Classic championship game on Sunday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
TMU hadn’t crossed paths with the Huskies since the 33rd edition of the tournament when they took down the then-defending champions. Despite being in separate conferences, the two sides have a history with one another as they met in the finals of the 2016 U Sports national tournament, where Saskatchewan pulled off the win. Bold head coach Carly Clarke and Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis also worked alongside each other for a few years coaching Canada’s senior women’s national team.
“Always great to play them. They’re a great team,” said Bold head coach Carly Clarke about the Huskies. “They’re amongst the top teams in the country, so anytime you get a chance to figure out what you need to get to that level is great.”
In the game, the Huskies got off to a hot start taking a 14-3 lead halfway through the first quarter and never looked back. The out-of-conference visitors remained in control throughout the game, taking charge on both sides of the court to take the crown of tournament champions.
Fifth-year Huskies forward and 2023 Canada West Player of the Year Carly Ahlstrom led the way for Saskatchewan with 19 points and four rebounds. On the other end, first-year Bold guard Catrina Garvey put up 24 points—only one of two TMU players to score double-digits—on 50 per cent shooting from beyond the arc.
Saskatchewan’s defence kept the Bold contained in the opening quarter as they went three-for-15 from the field and took a 26-13 lead to the second frame.
“We lost the first quarter by 13 and we ended up losing by 16. So, if we can have a better start then we may be better off,” added Clarke.
TMU looked to bounce back with a better effort in the second quarter, but it remained much of the same. The Huskies’ transition game was on full display earlier making the Bold pay for some poor outside shooting. The Bold found a slight swing in momentum towards the end of the quarter thanks to some three-point shooting from Garvey. However, the Huskies were still far ahead, leading 44-27 to end the first half.
“[Garvey is] really tough. She’s learning a lot on the fly. Credit to her teammates, they found her for some open shots today in transition,” said Clarke.
The third quarter was more of a back-and-forth with the Bold scoring 15 to the Huskies’ 16 in the quarter. Yet, the perimeter defence from the Huskies meant they were able to hold on to their lead with a wide margin with the Bold continuing to struggle with outside shooting.
The Bold were looking to put together a comeback late in this championship game, but the Huskies had the Bold figured out as they were able to close the game and the tournament with the victory.
With the tournament coming to a close the Bold wrapped up their pre-season schedule. The young squad looks to take the lessons they’ve learned into the upcoming regular season.
“I think our connection has grown a lot which is what we need. We’re still a pretty young team,” said Clarke.
UP NEXT: The Bold open their regular season against the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Friday, Nov. 3 at the MAC. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.