The Rams fought back from a first-half deficit to defeat the Gaels 71-66 on Wednesday night in Kingston, Ont. Veterans Angela Tilk (Welland, Ont.) and Ashley MacDonald (Port Colborne, Ont.) were the top performers for the women. Tilk had personal season-highs in points (24) and rebounds (19) to record her ninth double-double of the year, while MacDonald dropped a game-high 25 points in the win.
"They were amazing (against Queen's)," said Head Coach Charles Kissi of Tilk and MacDonald. "They both played 39-40 minutes respectively and never let up. They performed at a high level on both ends of the floor. I was proud of their efforts."
The two upper-year players have carried the load for most of the season. MacDonald averaged 18.2 points per game (ppg), ranking her second in the OUA, and Tilk has had a breakthrough season in her fourth year, finishing amongst the conference's best in both scoring and rebounding. She tallied 14.5 ppg and picked up 9.4 rebounds per game (rpg).
Kissi believed the win was a total team effort, and also noted the play of Dayana Gechkova (Sofia, Bulgaria), who picked up 11 points and five assists and was described as the x-factor of the game according to Kissi.
The women will run into the CIS No. 6-ranked Gee-Gees on Saturday evening, who earned a bye through the first round of the post-season. Ottawa (19-3) topped the East division standings for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and will have their eyes set on bringing the OUA banner back to Montpetit Hall for the first time since 2003-04.
"(Ottawa) has a strong player at every position," said Kissi. "So sometimes you feel like you have to pick your poison. Having said that no team is invincible. It's playoff time and every team has a chance to play well for just one game at a time."
Hannah Sunley-Paisley leapfrogged MacDonald on the last weekend to win the OUA scoring race, finishing the season with 18.5 points per game. The fifth-year veteran also brought down 9.5 rpg, ranking her fourth in the conference.
The Rams dropped a 76-64 decision to Ottawa at Kerr Hall Gym on January 14, and were defeated by the Gee-Gees last weekend 85-67. Sunley-Paisley averaged 16.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in those two contests.
"Hannah is an incredible competitor," said Kissi. "She never stops working and we just have to do the same. We have to stick to the plan and more importantly weather the storms. Basketball is a game of runs and it's crucial that we don't let (Ottawa) have too many."
Ryerson and Ottawa will hit the court at Montpetit Hall on Saturday evening, with the winner earning a berth in the OUA Final Four. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game can be watched live at SSN Canada.