The Ryerson Rams basketball teams have had great seasons, in some cases record breaking, and have netted themselves first round byes in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs. Though the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) finals are just around the corner, the Rams cannot look too far ahead. The OUA playoffs begin this week.
Ryerson hosts the men’s CIS final eight tournament in March and though that can seem to be the most important, the OUA playoffs are something the teams want to do well in.
Both men’s and women’s coaches agree that there ways they can improve.
“We’re certainly not content,” said women’s coach Carly Clarke. “I love our pieces. I think we’re just so well-rounded. We’ve got strengths at every single position which makes us really, really tough.”
Men’s coach Roy Rana said he wants to work on the team’s defence. “We’ve just got to get better defensively,” he said. “As good as we are, I think we just need to be a little bit more consistent.”
Both teams secured the number 3 seed in the OUA and get to sit out the first round. Finishing third means the teams will face the winners of the six versus 11 seed matchups.
The women’s team finished with a school record 16 wins in the 2014-2015 season. The women’s CIS final eight tournament is at Laval University in Quebec and Ryerson is not guaranteed a spot. The OUA playoffs are the only focus right now.
They will play either number 6 Ottawa or number 11 Carleton. These teams are top teams on the men’s side but their women’s teams have records of 14-5 and 9-10 respectively.
On the men’s side the Ryerson men face either number 6 Western, with a record of 12-8, or number 11 Laurier (7-13). The Rams men won all their games against these teams this season.
The women’s team had the second highest points per game (PPG) in the OUA. Keneca Pingue-Giles led the way in that regard with 17.5 points a game, fourth best in the OUA. Sofia Paska had 10.6 PPG and 5.5 rebounds to help the cause.
The top players on the men’s side for Ryerson have had some good stats this season in the run-up to the playoffs. Jahmal Jones continues to lead the team with 17.2 PPG. That’s good enough for tenth in the OUA. He says the team is thinking big.
“We’re at the stage where losing is not an option now, so we have no choice but to keep winning,” said Jones. “We don’t know how (many) games we’ve won so far, we just want to keep going and be consistent. That’s all that matters.”
Aaron Best had 14.6 PPG this season while Kadeem Green led the team in rebounds with 6.8 per game and had the OUA’s third best shooting percentage, at 58 per cent.
The first round games that Rams teams will be waiting on take place Wednesday night. The Rams playoff games against those winners will be on Saturday, Feb. 28 at the MAC.
This story also appeared in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Feb. 25, 2015.