Paska leads Rams comeback over York
TORONTO – The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team needed a strong fourth quarter to overtake the York Lions on Wednesday night. Trailing by 11 in the first half, the Rams clamped down on defence and outscored the Lions 20-7 in the final ten minutes to emerge with a 71-61 victory.
Following the trend of the team, Rams forward Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.) started slow but eventually found her groove and finished with a new career-high 28 points to lead Ryerson.
The Lions came out firing in the first quarter and picked their way through a lackluster Rams defence. York shot 52.9% from the floor in the first ten minutes and held a 19-14 lead.
The Rams strung together a 7-0 run early in the second to get back to within 23-21 but after a York timeout the Lions responded and were able to re-establish their lead.
Fifteen fouls were whistled in the second quarter alone, including several on back to back possessions, which made it difficult for the Rams to gain any rhythm or momentum to mount a come back. At the end of the first half, Ryerson trailed 41-33.
“Certainly the whistles made it challenging but with that…it was a product of how we were playing defensively,” said head coach Carly Clarke following the game. “We were drawing fouls successfully which was good but our transition and our energy wasn’t good enough. We have to not put ourselves in those situations.”
Addressing that defensive intensity was the main message at the halftime break.
“We got outrebounded at half, we weren’t getting the ball where we wanted, they scored seven points off offensive rebounds, 12 points in transition. Things we normally take care of we weren’t taking care of so we tried to hammer home those little things,” added Clarke.
The message seemed to work as the half opened with a steal and coast-to-coast layup from C’airah Gabriel-Robinson and that set the tone for the rest of the second half.
After giving up 41 first half points, the Rams buckled down and allowed just 20 in the second half, including a mere seven in the fourth quarter.
Paska and Kellie Ring connected often in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a drive and drop pass from Ring to an open Paska who made no mistake, giving the Rams a 55-54 advantage with 7:30 to play. Once the Rams took that lead, they never relinquished it.
Ryerson improves to 12-3 on the season while York falls to 5-10. The Rams are back in action on Friday night when they host the undefeated and No. 4 nationally ranked Queen’s Gaels starting at 6:00 p.m.