SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – It was a successful season opener for the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team, as they pulled off a 78-58 win against the Algoma Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday night.
However, the match was far more contested then the final score shows, and the signs of a potentially close contest were evident from the first quarter. As the game began, the Thunderbirds defensive approach to the Rams was to limit their offensive movement to the back court, by swarming point guards off of the inbounds pass. For a limited period of time, this strategy seemed to be effective, as the Rams offensive abilities were limited in the face of a tenacious Algoma defensive effort. On top of this, the Thunderbirds seemed to be given endless chances on offense during the first two quarters, as the standard three-two defensive formation utilized by the Rams was, at times, too spread out allowing the home team to grab several offensive rebounds.
With respect to their scoring abilities, the Thunderbirds seemed to be on a hot streak all night, as they converted forty-percent of their three point attempts into points, and were nearly even with the Rams on regular field goal converThe Rams play, however, maintained itself as systematic and professional in the wake of this unusually aggressive Algoma team. Through the use of effective pick-and-roll plays and quick passing, the Rams were able to pick apart an Algoma defense that lost much of its luster when forced to the confines of a three-two defensive formation. To add to this, the Rams had a weapon that the Thunderbirds could not find an answer for, in the form of their forward Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.). The 6’4” forward posted 24 points on the night, taking advantage of a much smaller Algoma line-up that simply could not compete with her skill and stature.
As the first half concluded, the Rams were able to hold on to a 41-32 that they were looking to increase as the third quarter began. However, Algoma had tired in their pursuit of an unprecedented upset and threw all the could at the Rams. Through the utilization of long-range shots that took advantage of a now clustered Rams defensive formation, the Thunderbirds were able to pick apart the Rams lead throughout the quarter. Combine this with the fact that the Rams seemed to be unable to connect on a majority of their offensive attempts, and the nine-point lead that Ryerson held coming into the quarter was chipped down to only four, as the Thunderbirds outscored the Rams 18-13 during the third.
It wasn’t until the final quarter of play that the Rams were truly able to get back into their stride, and put away any chance of an underdog victory. The Rams began to take advantage of an Algoma defensive formation that left forward, Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.), virtually unguarded, permitting the acquisition of several easy points. In addition to this, the Rams began to pressure the Thunderbirds from the backcourt, preventing forward ball movement and forcing more turnovers from home team. As a result of these efforts, the Rams were able to restrict the Thunderbirds to only eight points in the final quarter, while recording twenty-four of their own.
The Rams will be back in action on Friday, November 3, at 6:00 PM as they take on the Windsor Lancers at the St. Denis Centre in Windsor. Fans can catch all the action on OUA.tv or by following the Ryerson rams on twitter @ryers