There is only one word to describe the UTM women’s basketball game last Wednesday, January 30, between the UTM Eagles and Conestoga Condors—electrifying. There was quite an impressive showing on the bleachers, where the audience for once was far more enthusiastic than the beloved UTM mascot. For halftime, UTM had invited the Brampton Warriors girl’s minor basketball team to play a mini 5 on 5. Overall, it was quite an intensive game punctuated with valiant displays of skill and bravado.
The starting five for UTM were Jade Addai, Janella Viado, Trisha Ann Vo, Jiana Alnajjar and Elizabeth D’Souza. Addai started the night off by grabbing the jump ball. The first shot also went to the Eagles where D’Souza got a rebound off Addai’s initial shot and put it up high. This lead was maintained for quite a while by the Eagles with Ann Vo getting a 3 with 4 seconds left in the 24 second clock. The Eagles had quite a fluent communication, that allowed them to play a healthy offence. The Condors displayed a lack of control and a constant fumbling of passes. UTM’s Viado led the role of a point guard for most of the game and it wasn’t until she scored a 3, bringing the score 12-7, that the Condors called a timeout, with 3 minutes left in the quarter. Their coach was swift to change the tide and the Condors came back with a new-found teamwork and enthusiasm. The rest of the quarter ended off with a pattern where the Eagles just couldn’t get past the Condors’ unbreakable defense and the Condors were so swift offensively, that the Eagles couldn’t form their defense in time. The Eagles couldn’t get a single point and the quarter ended with Conestoga’s Kelly getting a layup and bringing the score in their favor at 17-12.
The second quarter was the end of an acclimation period and the Condors showed off their true skills. While both teams started off slow in an equal struggle, they did exhibit a clumsy manner of finishing plays. However, over time the Condors developed a terrific defense that the Eagles just couldn’t penetrate. Moreover, they dominated the rebounds and kept putting the ball up, where it sank numerous baskets. Conestoga’s Beckford had a killer hook shot, whereas White was a staunch defender that towered over the Eagles and blocked many shots. Kelly was their shooting guard and her successful shots were dangerously frequent. The star of this quarter was UTM’s Silva, who got 3 three pointers, where her last really got the crowd cheering and ended off the quarter 35-33, still in favor of Condors.
The third quarter started off with UTM’s Ann Vo getting a 3 and the rest of it transpired with a strangely high number of fouls, mostly against the Eagles. Both teams are visibly more focused as they finish their plays definitively. The Condors still exhibited a dominance in rebounds and were slow to pick up the pace defensively. The high number of fouls simply slowed down the game into a trot of foul shots and a brisk back and forth. UTM’s Tasja Rhooms broke the curse with a beautiful three pointer and this was followed by another by Viado. The buzzer sounded off at 55-50 with the Condors still on top.
The last quarter was simply stunning. The Eagles had a tough time finding each other on offence, with the fixed man to man defense the Condors had going. UTM’s Viado however simply outdid herself, taking charge of many successful plays and scoring much of the points. Although both teams are visibly slowing down at this point, the Condors got much clumsier, allowing the Eagles to exceed the gap, when Kayla Rice got a three to bring the score at a 60-59. At this point Beckford got a foul but the Brampton Warriors Girls team that was visiting, led a thunderous roar from the crowd that distracted her from the sheer noise. The Condors called a timeout and the same event occurred, where the audience saved the Eagles from four more foul shots, to an overall tie at 60-60.
The next few minutes followed a similar pattern of four more timeouts, interspersed by several lucky shots. Even with 43 seconds left, the Condors called a time out and came back with Kelly scoring a three, bringing the win to their side at 24 seconds. Then the Eagles called a time out, after which Addai got fouled twice and scored 3 points. This brought the victory to the Eagles side once again with 2 seconds left in the game. The six shots within the last minute of the game drove the crowd crazy with a delicate victory constantly tipping to either side with seconds to spare. Condors’ Cole got a foul at 0.1 seconds left in the game, but the Eagles were already far ahead, and ended the match at 74-72, securing their win of the night and to the audience’s great satisfaction.