A cross-division evening at the University of Toronto was what was on offer for fans of the Varsity Blues men and women’s basketball teams as they faced the Laurentian Voyageurs for the final time this season.
The women played an exhilarating matchup, one which was reminiscent of a playoff game. The teams were neck in neck throughout, with neither side ever finding a chance to truly take over. The first two quarters saw both teams go shot for shot, but the first burst of confidence came in the third, where the Voyageurs outscored the hosts 13-8.
Something must have been said between quarters, as the game did its own take on the viral internet “180 degrees” dance, as the Varsity Blues put on a shooting gallery of a fourth quarter to seal their 60-57 victory.
For the Varsity Blues, they were once again led by Nada Radonjic, who scored 27 points en route to her team’s victory. Radonic had her game of the season against the Voyageurs, topping many of her season highs. The 27 points were her most of the season, so were her four three-point shots and 14 rebounds. All round, the fourth-year student had a stellar game, one that certainly stands out in her time with the Varsity Blues.
While the win is nice, it holds nothing of importance in the standings, as the Varsity Blues have long been eliminated from OUA playoff contention. However, at this point, with playoffs out of mind, it is certainly nice to end a losing streak of seven games.
The Voyageurs also don’t take anything away from the game. They lost a close one, but even if they had one it would have had a similar effect to the benefit taken by Toronto. Laurentian plays in one of the toughest divisions of all of U Sports which features Queen’s Carleton and Ottawa, making it extremely difficult for them to make the playoffs.
Both teams will close out the seasons which they want to forget on Sunday, with the Varsity Blues hosting Nippising and the Voyageurs making the short voyage down Yonge Street to take on the central division leaders, the Ryerson Rams.
A three-point win by the women is certainly a hard act to follow, and it was a task too hard for the Varsity Blues men to undertake, as they fell 96-78 on the second last day of their season.
The Varsity Blues simply looked dull against the Voyageurs. There’s really no other way to put it. No players took control of the game, no moment rallied the team and there really was not anything they did that stood out.
Now, the Voyageurs are also one of the better teams in the OUA. They play in the East Division, which means regular matchups against the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees, two of the nations best.
Toronto kept pace with Laurentian in the first quarter, but eventually, the level of the Voyageurs caught up to them. It was the middle two quarters where the Voyageurs took the game over. There was a complete shutdown of the Toronto offence in the middle portion, as the Blues scored less in quarters 2/3 than they did in the fourth alone.
Two time U Sports men’s basketball player of the year, Kadre Gray had yet another great performance, as he posted 23 points on the night, which was the fifth straight time he has hit the 23 point mark.
Quality showed at the Goldring Centre tonight for the Laurentian Voyageurs, who walk away with their seventh win in a row. Like the women, the Voyageurs will complete their regular season on Saturday against the Ryerson Rams, while the Varsity Blues host the Nipissing Lakers, a game which will be the last basketball action for U of T this season.