Women’s basketball 2014-15 preview: strong pre-season gives team new hope

Ryerson Rams

The Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team prepares for a pre-season game against Calgary Friday, October 29th, 2014. (Steve Tzemis / Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson sports teams have had a lot of success lately. And this year, it may be time to tack on another team to the growing list of highly competitive programs – the women’s basketball team.

Since Carly Clarke became head coach, the team has grown immensely in skill and size. When she took over the team in 2012, there were only 10 players on the roster. That has grown to 16 this year, with some highly touted recruits joining the team.

Clarke, a member of the Canadian women’s national program, has focussed on making the team bigger and better.

“To reach the goals that our team, our program and our department has set, we need more players and we need better players,” said Clarke.

One of those players is freshman and new recruit Sofia Paska, a 6-foot, 4-inch forward from Etobicoke. She brings a component to the team it was desperately missing: size.

“Rebounding and a big presence, because we didn’t really have that much height,” said Paska, when asked what she brings to the team. “Just trying to do my best scoring down low.”

And so far, it has been paying off. The team is 6-3 in the preseason after going 9-13 last year in the OUA. The team has six victories by an average of 19.5 points, a huge number, even for pre-season. One of those victories came against Concordia, which finished ranked seventh in Canada last year. Ryerson won the Concordia game 82-65.

Although none of these games count when the season begins, it’s an impressive start for a team destined to take the next step.

Keneca Pingue-Giles is one of Ryerson’s veteran guards (this is her fourth year on the team) and she’s seen the growth right before her eyes.

It was only a couple of years ago when the Rams were low on players and short on wins. Now, the team is dominating its opponents.

“We’ve put in a lot of time, a lot of early mornings, a lot of late nights and it definitely shows on the court,” said Pingue-Giles.

Pingue-Giles says if the team wants to continue to play well and take the next step, players can’t get complacent and lose focus. Staying interdependent on each other and playing like a team will keep them motivated to finish what they’ve started. Clarke says he wants to make sure the team keeps buying in.

“It’s not about us winning games right now, it’s about us making sure we get better every single day,” says Clarke. “We want to be playing our best basketball in February or March, not now.”

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