It took time to produce some sparkle, but UTM stormed the court with solid pace and retention of the ball for tri-campus women’s basketball’s final game of the season last Wednesday at the RAWC.
Sajana Saththiyanantham made herself open in the UTSC paint to receive a pass, following some good ball movement, to score from close range. Lauren O’Grady was a key player for UTM; she started the match in good shape, despite the injury to her leg, as she bagged a three-pointer within six minutes. The Maroons had barely started a counterattack before UTM’s Chelsea Bartholomew intercepted a pass and passed the ball to teammate Sarah Olefield, who netted another three-pointer. Despite the solid play by the Eagles, UTSC began to tilt the court to their favour, as UTSC’s Pasha Binder was finally able to put the ball in the net for her team. The Maroons’ offensive pressure was controlled by Emma Hagopian, who helped her team convert on points in the transition. Binder performed well during the first quarter, helping her team take advantage of a tired UTM squad. UTM head coach Jack Krist must have noticed the fatigue of his starting five, because he swiftly decided to substitute all the girls on the court to avoid a defensive calamity.
Right away, the five substitutes made an impact. Daesi Reale adventured herself alone in the UTSC paint against three UTSC defenders, making a superb pass to Saththiyanantham, who narrowly missed from close range. Back in defence, the same two combined well to dismantle the Maroons’ attacking prospect. Raele wasn’t disappointed by her second offensive stint; she passed the ball to Bartholomew following a neat fake-shot to give UTM a slim lead at halftime with a score of 20-19.
The UTSC Maroons were on the attack at the beginning of the second half, with player Cris Arribas opening the scoring. It took four long minutes for the Eagles to make any noise on their side, made possible by UTM’s Emily Goetz. Arribas was the X factor for her team in the second half, contributing immensely on the offensive front. Bartholomew led her team on the court for the second half to keep UTM in the game. Raele topped off a fine scoring performance from UTM, adding two three-pointers in the final 10 minutes and helping her team edge out UTSC to take a 50-33 victory.
The win stabilizes the Eagles’ third-place position in the standings.
“We dominated in the last 10 minutes, thanks to the fact that we passed the ball less and took more shots,” said Krist. “We mainly saw that in the second half, which explained why our ladies were able to dig such a gap in tonight’s final score. The real test comes this week, as we must play the St. George Reds twice in the space of four days.”
Player of the Game:
Daesi Reale (UTM Eagles)
This game saw an outstanding performance from UTM’s point guard. She coordinated her team’s offensive tactics very well and was able to create several passes for Bartholomew and O’Grady. “The last time we played the Maroons, we needed to go overtime to beat them,” she said. “It was a setback for us. This time, we almost got 20 points more than they did.”