Rams basketball continues to streak in face of impending playoffs

Both Rams basketball teams celebrated senior night with a win over the Queen’s Golden Gaels at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Friday.

The women’s team won 72-62, increasing their winning streak to 10 games. The men’s side won 94-67 for its 11th straight victory. It was the final regular season game for both Rams teams before the OUA playoffs.

The women’s side finished with the most regular season wins in program history at 16-3. The men finished 17-2, that program’s most wins since going 17-3 in 1999-00. The men’s team finished 10-0 at home in conference play.

It was the final regular season home game for the Rams senior women. Those players were Keneca Pingue-Giles (who has a year of eligibility remaining), the inactive Lindsay Harris and Annie Sokoloff.

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“I started at Ryerson when we were still in Kerr Hall, when we weren’t winning a lot of games, coaches had just changed. It was rough,” said Sokoloff. “And then we got this new building and Carly came on, we started winning and now we’re setting records.”

Pingue-Giles led the Rams with 18 points and 5 rebounds and Mariah Nunes had 15 points and 5 boards.

The Gaels used 5-of-11 three-point shooting in the first half to be within three at halftime despite shooting 36.8 per cent from the field.

Ryerson then opened up the game with a 21-11 third quarter. “I thought we found a collective effort defensively, we were able to get some stops,” said Rams head coach Carly Clarke. “And then we also executed a little bit more cleanly offensively.”

Queen’s was threatening with the score at 55-61 to Ryerson midway through the final quarter, but Nunes steadied the Rams with four straight points to begin an 11-3 Ryerson run.

The loss drops the Golden Gaels to 10-8.

The Rams now wait to see who they’ll face in the playoffs after their strong regular season. “We’re certainly not content,” said 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.”

Following the game, there was an on-court presentation for the women’s seniors.

The men’s presentation took place shortly after that and celebrated fifth-years Bjorn Michaelsen, Jordon Gauthier and Jahmal Jones, teammates since 2010-11.

“At one point I was hesitating (about) doing my degree in four years, but because I liked Jordon and Jahmal so much and I didn’t want to leave the team I decided to come (for a) fifth year,” said Michaelsen.

Queen’s led 18-16 after the first quarter of the men’s game, but that was the last quarter they led. Led by Jones and Adika Peter-McNeilly, the Rams outscored the Gaels 52-28 in the second and third quarters combined, taking a 68-46 lead at three-quarter time.

Peter-McNeilly had a career-high 31 points to go with 5 rebounds. Jones had 21 points and 5 rebounds.

The fourth quarter featured two rousing dunks for Ryerson, one by Aaron Best in transition over a defender—it turned into a three-point play—and one by Peter-McNeilly.

“The guys don’t really expect me to dunk, so when I do it, they all go crazy,” said Peter-McNeilly. “It was a nice feeling.”

With the loss, Queen’s falls to 5-13.

Defence is an area for improvement heading into the playoffs, according to Rams head coach Roy Rana. “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.”

The OUA playoff seeding for both men’s and women’s basketball will be final after Saturday’s games. The Ryerson men’s team has already secured a first-round bye and will host a quarter-final on Feb. 28.

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