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TMU Bold women's basketball player Corrynn Parker shouts
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TMU tame Mustangs to advance to OUA quarterfinals

By Blake Talabis

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s basketball team won their first-round playoff matchup 66-54 against the Western Mustangs on Wednesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).

A combination of smothering defence and an electric bench performance was how the Bold obtained and held a lead throughout the entire game.

“We can’t rely on our offence to give us energy because the ball isn’t always going to go through the basket,” said Bold head coach Carly Clarke. “For us to be locked into our game plan…that was key.”

The Bold came out very quiet offensively to begin the game, scoring only two baskets within the first five minutes. Chants for defence from the Mustangs’ bench filled the MAC in response to the Bold’s lacklustre start.

Ironically, it was the Bold’s defence that kept them competitive early. A full-court press midway through the frame seemed to feed the home side’s offence and help them get some points on the board, heading TMU into the second quarter with a seven-point lead.

“We have been working for this for the whole season. We are not done yet”

Their dedication was capped off by a silky crossover move leading to a buzzer-beating layup by first-year forward Corrynn Parker.

“I knew there wasn’t very much time left on the clock,” said Parker. “I had a smaller defender on me so I thought I could rise up…and get that shot off.”

The Mustangs eventually fought their way back in the second quarter and started to find open shooters, but their inability to make the three-ball kept them searching for a more consistent way to cut down the lead.

As for the home side, they continued their original plan on both ends of the floor. Persistence from fourth-year TMU guard Kaillie Hall is what carried the tone for the Bold’s defensive intensity, while the visitors continued to throw up long balls with little success.

Despite this, the Mustangs would not give the Bold much breathing room in the second quarter as each team exchanged blows. Still, the home side did enough to take a 32-27 lead into the half.

Out of the break, TMU’s offensive production echoed similarly to the game’s start which allowed the Mustangs to hit a couple of threes that momentarily gave them an advantage over their opponents.

Once again, it was Hall’s grittiness on the back end that seemed to spur some offensive spark back into the home side. As shots started to fall, the Bold started to get some swagger back in their game.

“I don’t even care I went four for four. I’m just happy about the team”

Eventually, a timely three from first-year guard Alex Pino—who drained four triples on four attempts—is what kept the Bold’s lead at five going into a tightly contested final quarter.

“Honestly, it wasn’t even about me,” said Pino. “I don’t even care I went four for four. I’m just happy about the team.”

The Bold continued to hound the opposition on defence which helped them force three consecutive turnovers to start the quarter, much to the appreciation of the crowd.

However, the match wasn’t settled yet, as the Mustangs tried to keep the game close.

Ultimately, it was the constant on-ball pressure from the Bold in the fourth quarter that extinguished any potential comeback for the Mustangs.

With the win, TMU advanced to the Ontario University Athletics quarterfinals and will take on the Brock Badgers on Feb. 24.

“We have been working for this for the whole season,” said Pino. “We are not done yet.”

UP NEXT: The Bold will play the Badgers in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday in St. Catharines, Ont. at 2:00 p.m.

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