It wasn’t a storybook weekend for Ryerson athletics, but it was pretty close to it.
Ryerson was participating in and hosting the women’s basketball final eight tournament at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Meanwhile, the men’s basketball team participated in the final eight tournament in Halifax.
On the women’s side, the weekend started on a sour note as the women’s team lost their quarterfinal to the No. 1-ranked Laval Rouge et Or.
One positive from the loss was the support of the Ryerson students who came out in droves and supported the team.
Constantly supporting and banging pots and pans, they truly packed the MAC.
The Rams were able to bounce back and win two in a row to claim the consolation bracket and fifth place overall in the tournament.
The Rams were also able to send off their three seniors, Cara Tiemens, Sofia Paska and Katherine Follis, on a positive note.
“I really wanted to go out with a bang this weekend, knowing it’s my last game wearing a Ryerson Rams jersey,” said Paska after the consolation final. “Everything just seemed to fall into place today.”
While the seniors enjoyed their final moments as Rams, the younger players on the team were looking ahead to next season and the valuable experience gained at nationals.
“Just learning from this experience, this is my first national championship tournament so just knowing the calibre of play and knowing what we need to do to get better,” said second-year forward Jama Bin-Edward.
“We’ll know how hard it’s going to be when we get to the tournament next year, so just making sure we work hard every day in practice next season so we’re able to be in this same position.”
The team and coach Carly Clarke now look ahead to the future, but also want to focus on the success of this season.
“We’re going to enjoy the win and celebrate the season that we just had,” said Clarke. “The future is bright. We’re definitely excited for that.”
The success of the tournament away from the court was also notable, with good crowds and organization throughout.
The gold medal final attracted 1,684 fans to the MAC — great numbers for a game not featuring the hosts.
Even Canadian national basketball star Lizanne Murphy shouted out Ryerson’s hosting job on Twitter.
Big shoutout and congratulations to @ryersonrams for hosting the @USPORTSca women’s nationals. What a great weekend of basketball, spending time with my sistas and seeing so many friendly faces! Great win by Mac and so happy for Theresa and @amthuss 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻— Lizanne Murphy (@LizzieMurph) March 11, 2019
On the men’s side, the team was knocked out in the semifinal against the University of Calgary Dinos.
It was a controversial semifinal loss, with some close calls going against the team in decisive moments.
The team was able to bounce back and claim bronze, with an 84-66 win against the Dalhousie Tigers.
The win gave the Rams their fifth straight nationals medal (two silver, three bronze).
Both teams will now rest and prepare for another run at nationals gold next season.