Emerging from a challenging four-game losing streak, the Varsity Blues women’s basketball team defeated the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks 71–54 on January 17, securing their first victory of the new year. 

The women’s team showed out in limited edition “Think Pink” jerseys in support of U SPORTS 17th annual “Shoot for the Cure” campaign for the battle against breast cancer. “It was a really good team win; we knew we wanted to come out and get the win, especially on the pink night,” said Blues guard Ellen Ougrinov in a post-game interview with The Varsity

The Blues donned limited-edition pink jerseys for the game. COURTESY OF ARU DAS CC VARSITY BLUES MEDIA

What happened

The Blues had a rocky start but eventually gained the lead in the first quarter with forward Sabrina Nero’s swift lay-up off a fast break, assisted by guard Sienna Caesar. Soon after, Ougrinov finally sank a three-pointer, immediately setting the tone for the team as they successfully dominated until the end of the quarter. 

Following the energy from the end of the first quarter, the Blues increased the pressure on the Ridgebacks with impressive defence, recording 18 total rebounds. Nero showed up aggressively as she continuously attacked the paint and drew two fouls in the quarter. She was a key player in maintaining the Blues’ offensive intensity. 

The Blues also made all their second-quarter field goals from the three-point line, with three shots from Ougrinov and two by guard Kiara Graham. After another big offensive quarter, the Blues closed the first half with a 40–19 lead.

Blues guard Kaylee Williams started the third quarter off strong and nailed a three-pointer off the backboard, ensuring the team applied the same level of intensity against the Ridgebacks. The crowd cheered louder as the Blues gained a 29-point lead after Ougrinov made her seventh three-point shot of the game. The team also dominated the glass, grabbing 17 total offensive and defensive rebounds, of which Blues guard Gabrielle Reed grabbed six. 

The intensity during the fourth quarter slowed down as everyone at the Goldring Centre was confident that the Blues would secure the win. Although the win was practically certain with their 23-point lead, Nero, Reed, and Blues forward Alex Jaglall continued to attack the rim, adding two points each. The Blues defeated the Ridgebacks with a final score of 71–54.

The Blues not only dominated on the court but showcased excellent teamwork, passing and communication to achieve their win. “Shoutout [to] Sab for protecting the rim [and] Kaylee [Williams] for those steals,” Ougrinov said. “Shoutout [to] everyone — that was a good team win.” 

What’s next

On January 20, the Blues faced off against the Queen’s University Golden Gaels at home and lost 81–69. They play against the Algoma University Thunderbirds on January 27.