TORONTO - After a slow start offensively, the Ryerson Rams women's basketball team found their stride and controlled their OUA playoff opener, defeating the York Lions 78-52 on Wednesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre to advance to the quarter-finals against Windsor.
For just the second time this season, five Rams players finished in double digits in scoring. Emma Fraser had an impressive postseason debut as the freshman posted 17 points. Sofia Paska also finished with 17 while Cara Tiemens added 14. Kellie Ring and Nicole DiDomenico also finished in double digits with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The opening minutes were a struggle for the Rams, and through five minutes of play the home town squad led just 6-5. Midway through the frame Kellie Ring drove the lane and converted on an and-one play which sparked the Rams. Ryerson finished the quarter on a 10-1 run and the Rams led the Lions 16-6 after the first.
Held scoreless in the first quarter, Paska started to find her game in the second as she posted nine points in the second frame to keep the Rams lead in tact.
"(Sofia) has been drawing multiple defenders a lot so I think she was a little hesitant (at the start) because right on the catch she's been double- or triple-teamed. I think she was kind of feeling it out...and York was doing some things to challenge her," said Rams head coach Carly Clarke following the game.
The Rams led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter but the Lions closed the half strong and trailed by just 12 at 36-24 at the break.
In the third quarter the Rams shot 56.3% from the floor including 2-for-2 from three point range and the home side pulled away from the Lions to lead 57-39 heading to the fourth quarter.
With the quarter-final berth looking more and more apparent, the Rams didn't get too far ahead of themselves and took care of business in the fourth quarter. Ryerson allowed just 13 York points in the fourth to close out a strong defensive game that limited York to a 28.8% field goal percentage.
"We found open people and that's been a characteristic of our team all season I think, our willingness to share the ball. As this second half has gone on we've started to understand what everyone's strengths are and we're starting to find them in the right places. It was great to see Emma step up and battle and make some tough shots. If we can continue to get a third and fourth contributor offensively, I like who we are," said Clarke.
Looking ahead to Windsor, the Rams will need to tidy up their work on the glass. Despite the win on Wednesday, Ryerson was outrebounded on the offensive glass by a team not known to be strong in that area. Windsor, meanwhile, could put the Rams away if they get as many second opportunities.
"I'm not sure (how) the rebounding numbers worked out against them last time but that was definitely a point of emphasis and will be again on Saturday," said Clarke. "(Windsor) has some great size and some great competitors who get after the offensive boards in particular. We're going to have to make sure we're not getting out-hustled and spectating when we're rebounding the ball."
The Rams defeated Windsor 59-55 on home court back on December 3. Saturday's quarter-final is set for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff in Windsor and will be available on OUA.tv. The Rams will be looking to book their ticket to their third straight OUA Final Four with a win.
Source: Ryerson Rams