Reminder: women’s basketball team is pretty good, too

Sofia Paska gets ready to shoot a free throw (Courtesy Alex D'Addese/Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Sofia Paska gets ready to shoot a free throw (Courtesy Alex D’Addese/Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Despite having the top scorer in the OUA and the best offence in the CIS, not much attention is being directed towards the Ryerson women’s basketball team. Instead, all the focus is on their male counterparts, who last week became the first Ryerson team to ever reach a No. 1 ranking in the CIS. The women are ranked fifth in the CIS and were second earlier this season before dropping a couple of close losses to Queen’s and Ottawa. With their record at 9-3, it would be understandable if the women felt like they were being overlooked. However, attention is the furthest thing from their minds.

“I think women’s sport in general flies under the radar,” said fifth-year guard Keneca Pingue-Giles, who leads the OUA with 18.3 points per game. “When we were No. 2, it wasn’t a big hype like it is now (for the men). It’s nothing new really, we’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing and go as far as we possibly can.”

If the team does go far, and it looks very likely that it will, it will be on the back of the CIS’s leading offence. The Rams score 81.9 points per contest and have four players who average more than 12 points per game. Only one other team in the OUA has more than two. The Rams also shoot 43 per cent from the field, good for third in the CIS.

“Everyone on our team can score,” said second-year forward Sofia Paska. “Everyone has their own thing they bring to the table which makes us such a good offensive team. We look for each other on the court so that everyone is involved.”

The only weakness so far has been their defence. In their losses to Ottawa and Queen’s, opposing guards were too easily able to get by their defenders and head to the rim unimpeded.

“We’re pretty athletic and good at defending one-on-one,” said coach Carly Clarke. “(We have to improve on) being there to support when we get beat and making sure we’re better at defending screens and some different things that teams try to throw at us.”

With the season halfway over, it is not just the men’s team that looks primed for a long playoff run. The women have all the tools necessary to compete and if they play to the level they are capable of, they could be in the CIS Final 8 for the second year in a row.

“We have to make sure we’re all in,” said Pingue-Giles. “If you’re not on board, it is a little too late now. But everybody has to understand that this is the grind time. Although classes have started and everyone is busy again, we have to be able to manage our time really well and do what is necessary for us to win this championship.”

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Feb. 3, 2016.

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