The women’s basketball team is celebrating after becoming the first Ryerson women’s team in history to qualify for a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championship.
To get there, the Rams defeated Queen’s Gaels 69-60 in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final-four action in Windsor on Friday night.
They would go on to lose in the final to the No. 1 ranked Windsor Lancers. But the second place finish earned them a trip to the nationals.
In the semifinal game versus Queen’s, the Rams got off to a quick start with star player and leading scorer during the regular season, Keneca Pingue-Giles, getting a layup with a foul, which she knocked down, putting the Rams on the road to a 5-0 lead.
Ryerson was only up by three points at the end of the first quarter, leading 14-11 and the game eventually came down to the final seconds, with both the Gaels and Rams rallying back and forth. Rams came out on top with the help of rookie Sofia Paska, who grabbed 18 points for the victory.
Paska has been solid for the team all season, as the second-leading scorer, averaging 10.6 points per game. She finished the night with six rebounds while Cara Tiemens had 12 points and five rebounds.
Solid players for Queen’s included Jenny Wright, who led the Gaels with 18 points and seven rebounds, and Abby Dixon, who added 12. Queen’s also saw a strong night from Andrea Priamo who led the Gaels with 10 rebounds, six of them coming in from the offensive end.
Ryerson won the game but the Gaels did not go down without a fight, as they pulled within six points of the Rams in the fourth quarter, getting the score to 66-60 as they tried to keep their season alive. Ryerson ended the their hopes of qualifying for the nationals for the second year in a row, as they came out on top, with a final score of 69-60.
The semifinal win gave the Rams a spot in the provincial championship game against the Lancers on Saturday night.
At the second quarter buzzer, Ryerson found itself in a 13-point deficit, trailing 42-29 to Windsor. They were unable to recover in the provincial championship.
Windsor’s star player Korissa Williams had 12 of the Lancers’ 23 points in the opening quarter. Williams led all players with 10 assists and six steals. Windsor’s Emily Prevost was also solid, scoring eight of her 18 points in the third quarter. She cleaned up with a game-high 11 rebounds, two blocks and three steals.
Pingue-Giles had a good game, leading Ryerson with 24 points and six rebounds. The only other Ram to score double digits was Silvana Jez, who got 10 points in the game.
The win for the Lancers made it their sixth OUA hoops championship in seven years, but it meant Ryerson was denied its first ever provincial championship.
The Rams settled for the silver medal.
But the team will have a chance for redemption, as the Rams head to the CIS National Championships for the first time in history.
The nationals are in Quebec City, hosted by Laval Rouge et Or. The Rams play their first game on March 12.