As Keyira Parkes’ shot trickled short of the net, the final buzzer blared across the Goldring Centre, consigning the Blues to their fifth loss of the season. Friday evening’s defeat marked the Blues’ fifth consecutive regular season loss to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks; their last victory came away in 2012.
Third-year guard Parkes would lead the Blues with 19 points, including three threes, and third-year forward Sarah Bennett would manage a career high of 18 points, including two threes, but the Blues’ poor 10-point third quarter proved to be their undoing.
The Blues opened the game strongly as Parkes found fifth-year guard Rahshida Atkinson to take the lead after 20 seconds. Atkinson would later find Bennett, who produced a strong drive, brushing aside a Laurier defender to earn her first basket of the evening and bring the score to 6–6. It was smooth sailing for the Blues for the rest of the quarter as they finished 20–10.
Despite a slow start to the second quarter, seven points from second-year Nada Radonjic, including a three-pointer, helped the Blues to a 39–31 lead to end the half. Second-year Mahal De La Durantaye, Atkinson, and Bennett each recorded a three as well. Bennett had a poor quarter, missing six shots and one free throw, but she redeemed herself with the closing play of the half, sinking a smooth three-pointer from the left corner.
A turbulent start to the third quarter saw the Blues pick up two defensive and two offensive rebounds in the opening moments. After a scrap in the Laurier half, second-year Laurier guard Rachel Woodburn swiped the ball out of Parkes’ hands as she prepared to release a shot, only for the loose ball to make its way to Bennett, who nonchalantly sank another three-pointer, this time from the right corner. Laurier, however, slowly clawed their way back into the game, courtesy of a strong showing from fifth-year guard Nicole Morrison, who recorded five points, two defensive rebounds, and two turnovers. The third quarter ended 17–10 to Laurier, bringing the game’s score to a nail-biting 49–48 to Toronto.
Laurier maintained a firm grasp of the game’s momentum heading into the final quarter, opening with a 14–8 lead to outpace the Blues 62–57. Following this, both teams maintained an extremely closely-fought back-and-forth contest, with neither ever leading by more than three points.
As the clock wound down and the spectators crept to the edge of their seats, a Laurier three-pointer put them ahead of Toronto 68–65. Laurier’s Woodburn then brashly rushed at Parkes as she attempted a three, giving Toronto the opportunity to level the score with 18 seconds left. Parkes calmly converted two of her three free throws before Laurier scrambled for a timeout. The Blues’ momentum slowly dissipated afterward, as Blues fifth-year forward Emily Piccini’s foul on Morrison prompted confusion from the referee; the foul proved to be her fifth of the game, disqualifying her.
After another Blues foul with 9.2 seconds left, Morrison netted one of her two free throws, bringing the score to 69–67 for Laurier and securing her 20th point of the game. As Parkes rushed forward after the turnover, Laurier’s defence remained compact, keeping her out of the paint and off-centre. With a second left, an off-balance Parkes aimed for the shot that would win her team the game, but the fairy tale ending was not to be.
Following the close defeat, the Blues dropped to a 2-5 regular season record, occupying seventh place in the OUA eastern conference standings.