U of T’s Varsity Blues went up against the Laurentian Voyageurs in the women’s basketball exhibition game at UTM. The Blues were looking to pick up their first win before the start of the OUA season after dropping their last four games. The Voyageurs, coming off a hot streak of three wins in their last four games, were looking to build up some momentum for the start of the season.
Laurentian opened up the scoring and took an early lead. The Voyageurs came out of the gate very strong with some great defence, but the Blues had trouble getting into position and never looked threatening early in the first quarter.
U of T caught up at 13-13 with some great shooting with two minutes left in the first quarter. But a missed shot and a foul meant that Laurentian took the lead again 30 seconds later despite the best efforts of the U of T women. They never took the lead in the first quarter, and it ended at 18-20 in favour of Laurentian.
Both sides increased the pace of the game and defensive pressure in the third quarter. Only 20 points were scored in total in the third frame, compared to 38 in the first and 29 in the second. U of T’s defence proved very capable of limiting shots by the Laurentian players, but Laurentian’s defence did the same for the Blues. The Blues’ field goal percentage dropped from 33% in the first half to only 19% in the second half. Despite being outscored 11-9, the Blues held on to a slim 44-43 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Laurentian pulled ahead with some great shooting and fantastic defence. U of T struggled to get good shots, and Laurentian capitalized effectively on U of T’s mistakes. Laurentian held onto a slim 4-point lead with two minutes left. A great shot and a few mistakes by the Voyageurs meant that the Blues were able to pull within two points with one minute left. Unfortunately, a few critical misses meant that the Blues were unable to grab the lead. Final score: Laurentian Voyageurs 54, University of Toronto Varsity Blues 50.
When asked about the loss, Coach Michele Belanger said, “It was mostly due to poor shooting and missing layups and easy two-pointers.” The Blues were poor in their shot selection, with the Voyageurs’ defence forcing them to shoot from poor angles. The Voyageurs were simply slightly better at both offence and defence.
Despite the loss, the fan support and atmosphere was fantastic. The fans were loud and supportive all game; some fans even stood up on the bleachers to chant towards the end. The mascots and cheerleaders were also fantastic, and UTM’s dance team put on a great show between quarters.
This article has been corrected from the print edition. The photo was credited to Nicole Raquinio, but was in fact taken by Mahmoud Sarouji.