The Rams (11-9) are winners of three-straight and six of their past seven contests overall. In a sloppy game last Friday against York, the women were still able to notch a 49-40 victory despite not looking their best throughout the contest. However, they followed that up with a better effort against Laurentian on Saturday, where fifth-year veteran Ashley MacDonald was honoured as a graduating athlete. The Port Colborne, Ont. native dropped 18 points to lead Ryerson over the Lady Vees 58-51.
MacDonald is proving to be an OUA MVP-contender as she tops the conference with 18.6 points per game (ppg) and 36.8 minutes per game (mpg). She is the fifth-highest scorer in the CIS heading into this weekend's matches.
Teammate Angela Tilk (Welland, Ont.) is also having an all-star caliber season. The fourth-year forward has tallied eight double-doubles so far this year, her last coming against the Lady Vees last Saturday. She is eighth in the conference with 14.2 ppg and fourth with 9.6 rebounds per game (rpg), making her one of the most dangerous posts in the conference this season. Former OUA all-rookie Kelsey Wright (Brampton, Ont.) rounds out the big-three, dropping 12.2 ppg.
"We have been in playoff mode since our second game against Queens," said Head Coach Charles Kissi. "We have won seven of our last 10 and what is promising for us is that we are closing out games, whereas at the beginning of the year we couldn't."
The women are one game up on Queen's (10-10) for fourth in the East division, but if the teams come out of the final weekend with the same record, the Gaels would emerge in front of Ryerson as they hold the season series by defeating the Rams in both meetings this year.
Ryerson is also facing much stiffer competition than Queen's, who will play York (7-13) and Laurentian (3-17) this weekend.
In contrast, the Rams are facing the No. 5 and No. 6 ranked teams in the CIS this weekend. The East-leading Gee-Gees (17-3) have been on a tear since losing their opening two matches to begin the regular season. Since then, they have gone 16-1 from November 18, their only setback coming against their capital rivals Carleton on February 4.
Hannah Sunley-Paisley is second in the conference with 18.3 ppg, while Jenna Gilbert is chipping in 12.0 ppg for the Gee-Gees, who defeated Ryerson 76-64 on January 14.
The Ravens (15-5) are looking to clinch second-place in the East as well as a first-round playoff bye this weekend. Alyson Bush is tallying 13.6 ppg, and her teammate Kendall MacLeod is dropping 11.8 ppg for Carleton. The Ravens will also be looking to avenge a 65-54 loss to Ryerson on January 13.
With the Rams already slated to do battle with Queen's in the first round of the playoffs, Kissi does not want his team looking beyond this weekend's competition.
"We are not in a position to over look the top two teams in our division," he said. "We want to come out, play well and compete for 40 minutes. Both Ottawa and Carleton are completely different teams than Queen's so our defensive strategy will be slightly different but we will try to work on a lot of the same concepts that will be used in the Queen's game. We have an opportunity this weekend to gain a home court playoff spot if we can take care of business."
Ryerson will take the court with Ottawa on Friday evening (available at SSN Canada), and close out the year against Carleton on Saturday. Both games will tip-off at 6:00 p.m.