With Ryerson’s Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony just days away, we caught up with three former women’s basketball players who are to be inducted.

Meet Angela Tilk, Ashley MacDonald and Tamara Garnes.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Angela Tilk

Tilk graduated from the international economics and finance program in 2013. She was part of the OUA East’s all-rookie team in 2009 and was an OUA East all-star in 2012. She holds the record for rebounds in a single season.

Tilk responded to questions via email.

What was your reaction to being inducted?

Surprised. Really surprised. My first thought was, ‘me?’ If any one from our team should be inducted, it’s Ashley MacDonald. Turns out she is too, so it makes a bit more sense. So, yes, it was unexpected and I was surprised, but I’m glad to be inducted. I loved my time at Ryerson and look back on my five years there very fondly. I am proud to be a part of the WBB history and prouder still to watch the progress it’s made over the last few years.

What was your favourite memory about your time at Ryerson?

Tough question – I’ve got a few. Basketball wise, there are two games that stick out to me. The first was in my second year, last game of the first half of the season. We were playing against Windsor who had been the number one team in the country that year (and for several years after). They had easily beat everyone they played so far that season and came to Kerr Hall expecting an easy win. We took them to OT, and, even though we lost in the end, I always look back fondly to that game, and that season, because it was then that I realized we were right up there with the best teams when we put our minds to it. That season was my last under Sandy Pothier before she passed and I remember her being extra proud of the team that night… it’s a good memory to reflect back. Another, in my fourth season, we traveled to Queen’s to play in the quarter finals of the playoffs. Queen’s was, and probably still is, a tough team and going to their home court with our season on the line was a lot of pressure. We played 40 minutes of gritty, hard-working basketball. The girls played as a team and we chipped away and pulled out the win. That was a special feeling, to come away with a win against a good team in their home gym, ending their season and keeping ours alive. At the time, it wasn’t supposed to be my last run with Ryerson as I had planned to play my fifth year as a Ram. In hindsight, that game and those feelings were even more special because it was the last time I felt them with my Rams as an active player. I tore my Achilles in the first game of my fifth year and was forced to sit out the next year. Outside of basketball, I loved being a part of the Rising Rams program — the days spent with the kids in Toronto schools, playing basketball or chatting (about) life goals are still some of my favourite (memories) over the five years.

What did you go on to do after leaving Ryerson? 

After finishing my economics and finance degree, I did my (master’s degree) at the University of Ottawa in public and international affairs, where I finished off my basketball eligibility. After, I traveled, did some work abroad in Singapore, and now I’m back in Ottawa, working on the Government of Canada’s development priorities for Myanmar, including our response to the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State. Basketball is still a big part of my life and thankfully Ottawa is a big basketball town so I’m still involved in the game. I play in a couple of leagues still, one of which is a competitive women’s league with talented alumni from all across the CIS (uSports I guess it’s called now). I’m also a pick-up junkie and sub or play with other teams whenever I can.

Do you still follow the women’s basketball team or any Ryerson varsity teams now?

Definitely still follow the WBB Rams – always come to watch their games in Ottawa versus UOttawa and Carleton and still in close contact with Carly Clarke. Caught all the men’s games in the OUA and CIS playoffs and still have, and proudly wear, most of my old gear – some of which still has the old Ram logo. Vintage.

What are your thoughts going into the ceremony?

I’m really looking forward to spending some time back (in) the MAC, seeing some old friends and teammates, being in the city again and watching the Rams beat the (University of Toronto Varsity) Blues, like we always do.

Tamara Garnes 

Garnes (née Alleyne-Gittens) graduated in 2005 from the commerce program. She won one team MVP and was an OUA East all-star in 2002. She holds second place in career rebounds.

What was your reaction to being inducted?

Total surprise. I didn’t see it coming at all. I actually asked them if they’re sure that they called the right person’s name at some point. I thought it was a prank call, too. It’s not something that I actually expected to come my way. I thought, “I went to Ryerson and I played basketball, great.” It’s not something I was looking for.

How do you hope to be remembered at Ryerson?

I hope to be remembered as somebody who made an impact. I don’t need to be one who had all the points or all the stats, but just somebody who made an impact to the program and to the game itself.

Do you have a favourite memory?

My favourite memory was more the bonding with my team and the trips. We went to Fort Lauderdale for our mid-term training camp, so that was a wonderful memory that I had. It was like Christmas time, the mid-season bonding and putting ourselves in a different environment. (I also liked) playing American teams and the different types of training and the different types of basketball.

What did you go on to do after leaving Ryerson? Did you continue to play basketball?

I transitioned to a working career. I played a bit of pick-up that was around the city, but basically just working and starting a family was the main thing I did. Right now I work at Via Rail Canada. I have two children, a six and a four-year-old.

Do you still follow the women’s basketball team or any Ryerson varsity teams now?

Not throughout the season. I start to pay more attention near the end, like making the playoffs and how they play in the playoffs. I’ve come to see a couple of games.

What are your thoughts going into the ceremony?

I’m somewhat still in disbelief. I’m excited. Right now I’m seeing it as I’ve gotten an achievement that my kids can see and they can say, “Mommy got into the Hall of Fame.”

Ashley MacDonald 

MacDonald played with the Rams from 2007 to 2012 and graduated from the sociology program. She won two team MVPs and Ryerson’s H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year Award — twice. She was a three-time OUA all-star, holds six different single season records and ended her career with the second-most points in Ryerson’s women’s basketball history.

What was your reaction to being inducted?

Surprised. I wasn’t expecting it, I mean it’s awesome, but first off it was shock.

How do you hope to be remembered at Ryerson?

Probably just a well-rounded person as far as an athlete and a student. Probably just overall as a good teammate and a good leader.

Do you have a favourite memory?

The one that stands out was probably when we all participated in the referendum for Maple Leaf Gardens. When that went through and it was approved that was a pretty huge thing. I never got to play in it, I missed it by a year but I think it was a pretty pivotal moment for our entire athletic (department). That was memorable. I think Ivan Joseph had really set that into motion.

What did you go on to do after leaving Ryerson? Did you continue to play basketball?

I started to work right away, but as far as basketball goes I would play pick-up here and there. Surprisingly enough, I played more recreational volleyball than anything for a hobby. I got married last year so that was exciting and then career-wise I went into project management so that’s currently what I’m doing now with Niagara Health.

Do you still follow the women’s basketball team or any Ryerson varsity teams now?

I follow the (women’s basketball team), who are killing it in the last few years. I’ll go online and check out the scores the next day if they had a game. I would say I follow it pretty closely. I try to watch the games if they’re televised at all. I haven’t been (back to campus) in a couple of years, so I’m really looking forward to next Friday so I can see the home opener.

What are your thoughts going into the ceremony?

Hopefully I’ll just get to reconnect with some people I haven’t seen in a long time or even just (see) friendly faces. I know there’s probably some staff I haven’t seen in years.

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