Hawks split weekend double header against U of T and Ryerson

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Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

After two straight weekends at home, the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team got back on the road as they headed to Toronto to play the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams.

The Varsity Blues were their first opponent of the weekend. U of T got right to it, wasting no time at the beginning of the game. Playing with plenty of energy and with a “get after it” mentality, they jumped out to a 20-10 lead at the end of the first only allowing Laurier to score on four field goals.

Laurier livened up though, as they opened the second quarter with an 8-1 run. U of T got back on their feet soon enough though and did not allow the Hawks to get within less than three points. Winning the turnover battle and dominating the offensive glass, the Blues would go into halftime up eight.

In the third quarter, things got interesting. Laurier would slowly chip away at U of T’s lead, even taking the lead at one point, playing better than they had earlier in the game on both ends of the floor. They went on an 8-1 run in the last 2:27 to finish out the quarter down one, with the score being 49-48.

The fourth turned out to be quite the battle. About halfway through quarter, U of T went up 57-55 after a 6-0 run.

Following that, Laurier went on a 7-0 run that U of T answered with a 6-0 run, taking a 63-62 lead with 1:37 left. Fast forward to it being 65-65; Irena Rynkiewicz hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left.

With Keyira Parkes of U of T only able to make 2/3 free throws, down three, with 18 seconds left, Nicole Morrison sealed it with a free throw, making the final score 69-67 for Laurier.

“I thought we battled for rebounds better in that third quarter, and anytime we get stops and rebounds, we’re usually a pretty good transition team.”

“The biggest thing was our defensive intensity against U of T. In the first quarter, it wasn’t there. We knew they were a good rebounding team, they rebound from the guard position as well as they do from the forward position and that really hurt us,” head coach, Paul Falco said.

“I think the girls dug in and we slowly chipped away and we were able to get the stops we needed, the rebounds we needed and that got our transition game going. That was a big part of that comeback.”

Next up were the Ryerson Rams, who ran out of the gates with a 13-2 run in under three minutes, forcing an early timeout by Laurier to set things straight. They came out of the timeout playing better on both ends, but ultimately finished the quarter down nine.

“Well, we had to try and find a way to stop [Rams forward Sofia] Paska inside. We tried to change our double team on her and try and make someone else hurt us and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t,” Falco said.

In the second quarter, Ryerson came out holding Laurier down for much of the quarter. With 2:30 left, a shot-clock buzzer beating three-pointer by Leyki Sorri of Ryerson pushed the lead to 13. After a three for an answer from Brianna Iannazzo, Ryerson closed the quarter on an 8-0 run in the last 1:08. Capped off by a buzzer-beating three from Sofia Paska of the Rams, they went up 18 going into halftime.

In the third quarter, Laurier turned it out around. For the first 5:13 of the quarter, Laurier would go on a 10-2 run cutting the lead down to 10. After being able to cut the lead down to seven with 2:35 to go, Ryerson pushed back, finishing the quarter up 11 again.

“I thought we battled for rebounds better in that third quarter, and anytime we get stops and rebounds, we’re usually a pretty good transition team,” Falco said.

“And I think we got our transition game going and we started finishing a little better. We were able to knock down some shots and get to the free throw line and sort of get back in it.”

In the fourth, Ryerson started out on a 6-0 run pushing the lead to 17. From there, the lowest the Rams let their lead fall to was 11, as they went on to win 72-59.

Next up for Laurier will be a matchup against the Waterloo Warriors on Dec. 1 at home looking to get to 6-4 heading into the break.

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