Armed with horns, noise-makers as well as pots and pans, the Ryerson student section echoed chants throughout the Mattamy Athletic Centre when their home team took on the No. 1 women’s team in Canada on Thursday night at the National Championship Tournament.
Despite having the home crowd advantage and a noisy student section, the eighth seeded Rams (18-7) were simply no match for the Laval Rouge et Or (17-1).
Guard Sarah-Jane Marois of Laval led the way for the Rouge et Or scoring 17 points on route to a commanding 73-51 victory over the Rams.
Marois also added four assists and a steal in the victory.
Marois was equally as concise on the court as she was when stating her goals and the aspirations for the team from Quebec.
“I want to have a national championship for sure, thats the one missing, and for all the other girls on the team,” said Marois. “At the beginning of the the year, that was our main goal and winning the provincial championships was only one part of it.”
Laval’s Claudia Émond was also clutch for the Rouge et Or, scoring two long range jumpers to put the game on ice in the final frame. The fifth-year out of Saguenay, QC, scored 17 points, connecting on 7 of 12 from the field.
Hayley Robertson of the Rams had a stellar game in the losing effort piling on 16 points, while shooting 60 per cent from the field, and perfectly from the free-throw line.
Rams were stifled by the Laval defence, in particular, Khaleann Caron-Goudreau. The 6-foot-3 forward recorded 12 rebounds on four points while adding two blocks and a pair of steals in the contest.
The Gatineau native previously played Division I ball for the Texas Longhorns. A year ago, the imposing power-forward was in the middle of the NCAA March Madness tournament.
“I know what it is to play on a big team on the big screen, I’ve been to March Madness in all my years [in Texas],” she said. “I know it really helps me prepare, but [due to injuries] I didn’t really play.
“So this is new to me, I’ve never been on a starting five in a big event like this. It’s new to me but I love it.”
Laval emphasized speed in transition, and it was evident that the conditioning of the squad was a key part of the victory. As the game went on, the Rouge et Or were able to get more open looks.
“They just wear you down,” said Ryerson Head Coach Carly Clarke. “They’re so steady, it’s just so consistent, they’re very tough.”
The score was 32-19 at half and Ryerson showed some character by getting the game to within seven points in the third quarter. Laval however, shut the door on a potential comeback.
With the game only seven points apart, Ryerson guard Robertson fouled Laval’s Carrie-Anne Auger on a three-point attempt. Auger scored two of her three shots from the charity stripe and Laval did not look back from there.
Laval scored 41 points in the second half to Ryerson’s 32, with a lot of the Rams points coming in garbage time.
The Rouge et Or will look to keep the ball rolling as they take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a semi-final showdown this Saturday at 9pm at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.