TORONTO - A pair of last second free throws from McMaster's Vanessa Pickard lifted the visiting Marauders to a 76-74 victory over the Ryerson Rams on Wednesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

BOXSCORE

The game looked destined for overtime before a hand check foul was whistled with 0.3 seconds remaining. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Rams who had battled back from a 12-point third quarter deficit.

"After going down 12...we could have either crumbled or stepped up and I think that's what we did, we stepped up," said Rams guard Kellie Ring following the game. "Unfortunately we didn't get the win but sometimes that's a little out of your control; we're moving on."

Ring finished with 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds in the losing effort.

The game was close from start to finish in this one as the two teams exchanged blows in the first quarter to sit tied at 14-14 through ten minutes. The No. 3 Marauders' defence seemed to stymy the Rams in the second quarter and McMaster pulled away to hold a 35-28 advantage at the half.

In the third the Rams started moving the ball with more pace at the offensive end which led to success. Ryerson forward Sofia Paska had an off night shooting wise as she finished just 4-for-14 from the floor but she started to find her open teammates in the second half.

Some big-time three pointers from Nicole DiDomenico and Faatimah A helped bring the Rams back in the fourth quarter. DiDomenico connected with 2:30 remaining to give the Rams a 72-71 lead but a Linnaea Harper jump shot and free throw gave the lead right back to McMaster. 

Ring tied the game at 74-74 with 20 seconds remaining when she hit two free throws, but Ryerson couldn't retake the lead as McMaster escaped with the win.

"What a battle - two top ten teams and there was just great basketball on display. Neither team was perfect but it seemed like every time we made a play, they made a play and vice versa," said Rams head coach Carly Clarke following the game. 

Despite the loss, their third of the season, the Rams know how close they are to being a top team.

"We've lost our three regular season games by a total of seven points so we know that we can play with everybody. I think that will, hopefully, give us some confidence as we head into the late part of the season."

Ryerson falls to 10-3 on the year while McMaster moves to 12-1. The Rams won't have long to dwell on this one as they are back in action on Friday evening in St. Catharines to take on the Brock Badgers at the Meridian Centre for a 6:00 p.m tipoff.

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