Rams end regular season with dramatic win over Laurentian
TORONTO – It was a night of sustained celebration for the Ryerson Rams, as they capped off their regular season with an 83-74 victory over the Laurentian Voyageurs, and acknowledged the incredible contributions that the team’s graduating players have made to the women’s basketball program.
Tonight’s Senior Night’s honoured the playing careers of Tashana McDonald (Whitby, Ont.), Chloe Mago (Scarborough, Ont.), Savanna Hamilton (Mississauga, Ont.), and Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.).
Unlike the pomp and circumstance of the Senior’s Night festivities, however, the Rams were forced to play one of their most dramatic games of this regular season.
Throughout the first two quarters of play, the Rams were trying to deal with a Laurentian team that was playing well beyond what their current record would indicate.
The Voyageurs seemed to significantly understand the distinct size disadvantage they were facing in the front court. With the largest Laurentian forward being three-inches shorter than Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.), the Voyageurs were relentless in implementing a double-team on the all-star Rams forward.
While this strategy didn’t fully prevent Paska from moving to the top of the score sheet, as she recorded 12 points heading into halftime, it did force the Rams to become more reliant upon perimeter shooting which seemed to hamper the Rams scoring abilities.
Additionally, the Voyageurs did a sufficient job in shutting down paint-directed passing lanes defensively, acquiring nine steals before the end of the half.
In contrast, and with the exception of a larger-than-normal number of turnovers, the Rams maintained a typical degree of efficiency on offense. Acquiring 20 points in the paint, to go along with nine offensive rebounds, the Rams were the dominant presence in the front court throughout the first half.
Heading into the final two quarters, the Voyageurs determination to achieve the massive upset did not waiver for a minute.
Throughout long stretches of the third quarter, the Rams and Voyageurs would exchange the lead as both teams were able to connect offensively, while simultaneously neglecting their defensive obligations.
The Voyageurs shot an otherworldly 54.5% from deep throughout the second half, while Ryerson shot 50% from the field. This, however, is overshadowed by the over ten turnovers committed by both teams throughout the final two quarters, that permitted the frequent changes in the lead.
Thankfully for those fans in attendance, Laurentian’s momentum would eventually be pacified by a Rams squad that began to act as a collective unit. The Rams outscored the Voyageurs 27-15 during the fourth quarter, and created several key stops defensively that prevented Laurentian from gaining any advantage.
In the win, freshman guard Leyki Sorra (Toronto, Ont.) led all scorers on the court with a career-high 22 points, to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Fellow Ram, and veteran forward, Sofia Paska similarly had an incredible night with 16 points and nine boards.
However, credit must be given where credit is due. In their last game of the regular season, in a game that would have no effect upon their postseason fate, the Laurentian Voyageurs were playing possibly their basketball of the season.
The Rams playoff journey will begin on Wednesday, February 21 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre when they host the York Lions at 6:00 p.m.