UTM hosts Varsity Blues exhibition game


The U of T Varsity Blues women’s basketball team played the McMaster Marauders on Friday evening for an exhibition game at the RAWC. In their final preseason game of the year, the Blues fell to the Marauders 82-48.

McMaster, who were last year’s central division champs in the OUA, dominated the first quarter, capitalizing on shots especially from forward Andrea Polischuk. Polischuk was an efficient shooter for the Marauders, sinking many of her shots from the right side in the offensive zone.

U of T had a tough time against McMaster, who capitalized on U of T turnovers, breaking out for easy layup baskets. Third-year point guard Diedre Edwards pushed the ball up the court, trying to find players in blue and white, but the Marauders physically and strategically, throughout defensive play, gave no room or time to the Toronto shooters.

Ken Duncliff, Director of Athletics at UTM, was happy to see the large audience turnout at the RAWC. The Varsity Blues basketball teams play exhibition games here every year to promote their product to campuses other than St George. UTM students have to travel 40 minutes by shuttle bus to make it to a Varsity Blues game, so walking into the RAWC after class to see a game is a great surprise. UTM isn’t involved in managing the game day productions, but they do accommodate the athletes with private changing rooms, making it seem like a comfortable and genuine home game.

The Varsity Blues men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams play their regular season and playoff home games in the one-year-old Goldring Centre, which holds a $58 million price tag and fits over 2,000 fans. The state-of-the-art facility is arguably the fanciest and most accommodating facility for student athletes in all of Canada.

Third-year guard Rahshida Atkinson led the Blues with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Rachel Homes scored 25 points for the Marauders while Clare Kenney added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Last year the Blues finished third in the OUA’s East division. The Ryerson Rams, who came in first with a record of 16-3 was six games better than Toronto’s 10-9 record.

Head coach of the Blues Michele Belanger has spent 36 years behind the bench. Belanger has had many successful years representing the Blues; from 1983 to 2002 her women’s team achieved 220 wins and 46 losses. Belanger, one of the most renowned coaches in Canadian women’s basketball history, has been named the OUA Coach of the Year eight times.

The Varsity Blues women look to improve when they open their 2015/16 regular season this Wednesday against the Ryerson Rams at Kerr Hall Gymnasium.