Blues women’s basketball lose rivalry contest against Ryerson

Rams defeated the Blues 53–42

Blues women’s basketball lose rivalry contest against Ryerson

The Varsity Blues women’s basketball team fell short of a win at 53–42 against the Ryerson Rams on Friday night. Despite the Rams gaining a big lead in the third quarter, the Blues tirelessly fought back and made it a close game.

The Blues wore all pink on Friday in support of the U SPORTS Shoot for the Cure campaign, and the Junior Blues Gymnastics team did a fantastic job of raising over $1,100 toward breast cancer research.

In the first quarter, Toronto opened the scoring, with Samantha Robertson finding Nada Radonjic on a baseline cut for a quick layup. Not long after, Charlotte Collyer would feed Radonjic down low again for two. Radonjic would finish with a team high of 10 points.

The second quarter saw the intensity of both sides reach a new level. Players were forcing steals and diving on loose balls as neither team wanted to give the other an advantage. The Blues took the lead early on and would go back and forth with the Rams until halftime, with Ryerson up 21–16.

Robertson’s tenacious playing style represented Toronto’s resilience throughout the second half. In the third quarter, after a foul call didn’t go her way, she responded by hitting a contested three on the ensuing possession. Ryerson’s full-court press earned them multiple steals and their vigorous zone defense helped them to a 19-point lead midway through the quarter.

The Blues collected themselves and began piercing Ryerson’s defense in the fourth. With two and a half minutes to go, the Blues were back within nine but couldn’t quite catch the Rams, and were defeated 53–42.

Teamwork requires players to fulfil different roles and not every role gets rewarded on the stat line. A big shoutout goes to Jessica Muha for relentlessly taking on Ryerson’s six-foot-four offensive powerhouse, Sofia Paska. A good four inches above the next tallest woman on the court, Paska led her team in scoring, rebounds, and blocks, finishing with a double double.

Blues guard Fiorella Granda, who has been out with an injury, spoke after the game about the team’s mutual support. “It’s a nice community,” she said, “You have people going through what you’re going through.”

Toronto has seen many players cycle through the injury list. When asked about players overcoming setbacks, Granda brought up Ariana Sider, who had suffered a concussion earlier this season.

“She came back stronger and better. Now she starts. Now she’s a leader.” Sider embodies the team’s adaptive nature by making the best of difficult circumstances.

The Blues have now lost four in a row, but as they’ve shown in the past, this is a team who can get up after being knocked down.

Breanna Stewart talks about the importance of #MeToo

The WNBA star uses her platform to help fellow victims of sexual abuse

Breanna Stewart talks about the importance of #MeToo

Rising WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart joined the #MeToo movement last October, when she wrote about the sexual abuse she says she suffered as a child in a personal essay for The Players’ Tribune. Stewart attributed the #MeToo movement for giving her the strength to share her story. She wrote that her dad would say to her, “It’s not a dirty little secret. When you’re comfortable with it, and when you’re comfortable being open about it, you could save someone’s life.”

Stewart wrote that she survived two years of sexual abuse at the hands of her aunt’s husband. She said that from the ages of nine to 11, she was always on guard and had a hard time falling asleep at night, that her uncle always found an excuse to be near her, which prevented her from feeling safe.

During those extremely challenging times, the basketball court was a safe space for Stewart. At 11, she found the inner strength to confide in her parents about the abuse. That same day, she went to practice, because “the only thing [she] wanted to do was go play basketball.” For Stewart, like other female athletes who have endured sexual abuse, sport was an outlet to cope with the pain and anxiety caused by abuse.

Stewart went on to become a budding superstar for the University of Connecticut Huskies, leading them to four consecutive national championships, the only team to do so in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history. Her team success was matched by her personal athletic accolades Stewart is the only athlete in NCAA history to have won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award four times.

After graduating, the Seattle Storm selected Stewart with the first overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft. Her rookie season in the WNBA mirrored the success she had playing for the Huskies. She was named 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year and won gold with the US women’s basketball team at the Rio Olympics. More recently, Stewart was featured in ESPN’s 2018 Body Issue in the hopes of supporting others in accepting and celebrating their bodies and the stories they hold.

Stewart credits former US Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney’s account of the sexual abuse she faced at the hands of team doctor Larry Nassar for inspiring her and giving her a sense of community. The sexual assault case against Nassar was greatly fuelled by the rise of the #MeToo movement.

Along with others who spoke out, Maroney international attention to the case against the former US Gymnastics and Michigan State University team physician, who molested the Olympian hundreds of times over her athletic career, starting with her very first appointment.

In January 2018, Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison, after more than 160 women testified that he had sexually abused them over the past 20 years under the guise of medical treatment. Like Stewart, Maroney wants society to realize that sexual assault is not just something happening in Hollywood. “This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse,” Maroney wrote in a statement posted to her Twitter account.

While the accolades that come along with being a professional athlete may create the illusion of perfection, it’s impossible to know what an individual is dealing with under the surface.

Stewart’s willingness to speak out and share her story will help fellow victims of sexual abuse understand that they are not alone. Through her partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, her goal is to connect survivors with someone they can relate to in their struggles and assist people on their journey after surviving abuse.

As more female athletes find the strength to share their stories, speaking out will further the important dialogue surrounding sexual abuse and ultimately help to put an end to it. At the same time, society must also continue to encourage people to share their experiences as a function of the healing process, and inspire others to do the same.