TORONTO — The Ryerson Rams women's basketball team will kick off their 2017-18 campaign against the Algoma Thunderbirds on October 27th when they travel to Sault Ste. Marie.
Earlier today when the OUA released the 2017-18 league-based sport schedules, they also announced some format and rule changes to men's and women's basketball.
The league will revert to its former two-conference format, merging the OUA East and OUA North to form the new Eastern Conference, leaving the OUA Central and OUA West to form the new Western Conference.
Under the new conference format, each team will play each team in their conference home and away in addition to a single game, which rotates home and away annually, against each team in the opposing conference. The new format totals 23 regular season games in the East and 24 in the West.
New OUA Conference Format
|OUA Eastern Conference||OUA Western Conference|
|Carleton Ravens||Algoma Thunderbirds|
|Laurentian Voyageurs||Brock Badgers|
|Nipissing Lakers||Guelph Gryphons|
|Ottawa Gee-Gees||Lakehead Thunderwolves|
|Queen's Gaels||Laurier Golden Hawks|
|Ryerson Rams||McMaster Marauders|
|Toronto Varsity Blues||Waterloo Warriors|
|York Lions||Western Mustangs|
Along with the conference changes, there was also a change to the OUA's playoff format.
The 2017-18 playoffs will see the removal of the RPI ranking system, and playoff qualifications will once again be determined by team records. The top six teams from each division advance to the playoffs, with the top two seeds receiving a bye to the quarter-final round. Teams remain within their conferences for the first two rounds of the playoffs, and then the semi-finals will feature division crossover matchups.
The playoff format will also move away from a Final Four concept to two, single-game semifinals. The championship game host is determined by annual division rotation unless two teams from the same conference were to advance from the semis, resulting in the highest seeded team hosting the Wilson or Critelli Cup Final.
The annual division rotation for 2018 is:
East – Men
West – Women
West – Men
East – Women
Friday, October 27th, 2017 | Rams at Algoma — Regular Season Opener
Ryerson will begin their regular season schedule with a trip to Sault Ste. Marie to take on Algoma. Ryerson has never lost a game to the Thunderbirds dating back to 2013-14 when Algoma joined the OUA. Last year the Rams were successful in their road trip to the Soo, winning 59-49 at the George Leach Centre.
Friday, November 3rd, 2017 | Rams at Windsor — OUA Quarter-Final rematch
In what might be their toughest game of the first semester, the Rams will head to the always-tough St. Denis Centre to joust with the perennial contender, Windsor Lancers. In the new, two-conference system in the OUA, this will be the Rams' one and only contest with the Lancers in the regular season, and it comes in just their second game of the season. Ryerson will have to exorcise their St. Denis demons to knock off Chantal Vallée's Lancers in Windsor—a feat they haven't accomplished since November 12th, 2004.
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 | Rams vs. Brock — Home Opener
Ryerson will make their home debut against the Brock Badgers, in what is likely to be a rowdy Coca-Cola Court. The Badgers' fans have travelled well to see their teams clash with the Rams since the #ProtectTheMAC and #RockBrock rivalry began in 2015-16. The Rams have had no issues with the Badgers in the past three seasons, not losing a game and outscoring the Badgers 238-198, dating back to November 1st, 2013. Bench boss Carly Clarke will not let that stat dwell on the Rams' minds, however, as the new-look Brock Badgers are sure to give the Rams a run for their money. There's no question that Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 will be a great night of basketball at Ryerson.
Friday, January 5th, 2018 | Rams at Ravens — Clash of the Critelli Cup Champions
The previous two Critelli Cup champions meet for the first time this season in their respective first games of 2018. There may be no better matchup between two teams in the OUA than the Rams and Ravens, and this will be the first taste of what could be a marquee playoff matchup. Sofia Paska and Heather Lindsay will certainly headline this battle at the Ravens' Nest as they are two of, if not the best centres in the country. They will have to work hard in the post all night long to neutralize each other's impact, which means the game will likely be decided by the better of the two backcourts. OUA TV will be the place to be at 6:00 PM on this cold, winter's night in January.
Wednesday, Febuary 7th, 2018 | Rams at Lions — Matinee Matchup
There are a few things of interest surrounding this game for fans of OUA women's basketball. For Ryerson, it is their only matinée match of their season, and the 11:00 AM tip-off will no doubt knock both teams out of their routines. Much like the night of a full moon, you never know what to expect from a midday contest in the OUA. Secondly, the York Lions will be bringing in the largest recruiting class in U SPORTS to the 2017-18 season and it will be interesting to see how Erin McAleenan's young Lions have gelled when the latter stages of the season have arrived. Finally, York has been giving their former OUA East division rival headaches in years past, throwing the Rams off of their typical game plan and causing for a competitive rendezvous, game in and game out.
You can view the full Ryerson Rams women's basketball schedule here.