U Sports Basketball (W): Badgers battle their way to win Critelli Cup

Toronto, ON- The Brock Badgers came to Ryerson University’s Coca Cola Court to face off against the Ryerson Rams in the Critelli Cup OUA Women’s Basketball Finals and they left as champions. 

The competitive nature that fans were expecting to see was displayed at full throttle in the first. Both teams went back and forth on the court, bucket after bucket and gave the fans a heated first quarter. Ryerson guard Hayley Robertson, who was named to the OUA All-Star team earlier in the week, scored 3 of Ryerson’s 4 made threes in the first, shooting 60% from beyond the arc.

But Brock had an answer. They established themselves as an impeccable offensive force, and lethal from behind the arc. Badgers centre Samantha Keltos shot the lights out, ending the first half with 26 points, shooting 10 for 15 from the field and an impressive 4-4 from 3 point range. The Badgers showed no mercy from three point land, going 6 for 10 while the Rams only shot 5 for 18 (27.8%).

Ryerson’s leading scorers at the half were centre Bronwyn Williams with 12 and guard Hayley Robertson with 11.

In the second half, it was all Brock basketball. Small-ball was the key in defeating the Rams, added with flawless ball movement from Brock was crucial in closing out the second half. The Badgers had two players go off for double digits. Guard Melissa Tatti dropped 12 points, shooting 67 per cent from three and 75 per cent from the field. And to no surprise, after an impressive first-half start, centre Samantha Keltos recorded 16 points to cap off her season-high 42 point performance. Keltos shot an astounding 60 per cent from the field, recording season highs in both field goals and three pointers made.

And in the final few seconds of the fourth, the Badgers bench knew what was coming. Winning this year’s Critelli Cup would be the Badgers’ first OUA title since 1983.

Speaking to the media, Badgers guard Melissa Tatti said that she felt like she was dreaming. “Every game is a dream. The comeback, then the comeback again and now this. We wanted it so badly. It’s a dream come true.”

To no surprise, the Player of the Game was awarded to Samantha Keltos who also recorded 12 rebounds to secure a double-double.

“I have no words. I am so incredibly proud of this team,” said Keltos to Brock Athletics. “Nobody believed in us. We proved people wrong. During the game, I was locked in. My teammates said my face was like a zombie because I was just zoned in.”

Both Brock and Ryerson now head to the 2020 U SPORTS Women’s National Championship in Ottawa starting Thursday. Seeding for the tournament will be announced shortly to determine the draw.

Cover Photo: Brock Badgers Twitter

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