The York Lions women’s basketball team’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion Sunday in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East final.
The Lions blew an 11-point lead with less than five minutes left in regulation time and lost, 99-91, in overtime against the host University of Toronto Varsity Blues before a packed house – including hundreds of screaming York fans – at the U of T Athletic Centre.
|Above: From left, Lions Emily Van Hoof, Cortney Fuller and Brenan Rurak|
The Blues snapped York’s two-year hold on the OUA East title and earned a trip to the CIS national championship, March 7-9, in Saskatoon, by outscoring the Lions 19-11 in overtime. U of T will play host to the McMaster Marauders in the OUA final Saturday, March 1.
“It’s always a tough situation when you lose like that, but that was one heck of an OUA basketball game,” said Lions head coach Bill Pangos. “From a fan’s perspective and from a coach’s perspective, it was unbelievable. They just hit the tough shots down the stretch, but I’m proud of the way our team played in a tough situation. They played very hard.”
The Lions jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter and stayed in front almost the entire game. But the Blues finally tied it, 80-80, with a three-pointer in transition with 28.8 seconds remaining. York called a timeout before its next possession and got the ball in Emily Van Hoof’s hands down low, but the star forward missed a contested lay-up after slight contact and the game went to extra time.
The Blues dominated the extra period, scoring three consecutive baskets. York, which played the game at its preferred high-speed tempo for much of regulation, struggled with the ball down the stretch and couldn’t hold off the hard-charging Blues
In an outstanding effort, Lions point guard Laura MacCallum, making her first start since spraining an ankle on Jan. 23, played all 45 minutes and scored 20 points. Van Hoof tied a season high by notching 25 points for the second game in a row and added a season-high 13 rebounds. And fifth-year guard Brenan Rurak played all 45 minutes and delivered a very good defensive effort.
Rurak and forward Cortney Fuller (10 points, six rebounds) saw their York careers come to an end Sunday but the other 10 Lions are eligible to return next season. The Lions will look to extend a 26-game home winning streak against OUA East opponents and make a return to the nationals in the 2008-2009 season.
Submitted to YFile by Mike Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.