Photo By: Brock Sports

Propelled by a massive fourth quarter comeback, the Rams women’s basketball team defeated the Brock Badgers in overtime by a score of 72-70 to win the 2022 OUA championship in what was an instant classic of a Critelli Cup.

The Badgers were up 61-39 with seven minutes remaining in the fourth before the Rams closed the quarter on a 28-6 run to send the game into OT. Fueled by an intense full-court press, the Rams caused several Badger turnovers in the backcourt that ultimately led to the latter’s downfall.

“I didn’t have any more timeouts left, we didn’t have a middle release, the pressure was just a little bit too intense for us,” said Badgers head coach Mike Rao. “We probably needed another guard, I think. Today it just wasn’t enough.”

The Badgers led by double digits for a majority of the game, largely behind an absolutely monster outing from OUA All-Rookie forward Madalyn Weinert, who put up a ridiculous 25-point, 17-rebound, five-block performance off 11-15 shooting. Weinert was also responsible for two massive late-game blocks, all the while playing the final 6:02 — and the subsequent overtime period — with four fouls.

“Maddy was outstanding today,” said Rao. “She had a great individual performance, but we still got to get better together right? And that’s what we lacked, playing together.”

Both teams were without First Team All-OUA’ers in this one; the Badgers’ Sam Keltos has been playing pro in Australia during the Badgers’ postseason, while the Rams’ Marin Scotten, who was sporting a hulking brace on her right knee, tried to give it a go but played just three minutes and was clearly not right (though she did hit a three, which evidently turned out to be quite important).

With Scotten sidelined, it was fifth-year senior Jama Bin-Edward who single-handedly kept the Rams alive in the first half, which ultimately allowed them to stay afloat just enough until their fourth-quarter barrage. The non-Bin-Edward Rams shot just 7-34 in the first half for 15 points; Bin-Edward had 10 off 5-8 shooting. She would ultimately finish with 23 points, 10 boards, and six assists while playing all 40 minutes in what was one of the easiest Finals MVP decisions ever.

The loss marks the first of the season for the Badgers, who, despite the disappointing outcome, will now head off to Kingston for the U Sports Final 8 tournament next weekend as an OUA finalist. The Badgers made it to the national championship game last season, defeating Calgary and UPEI before ultimately falling to Saskatchewan in the finals. The Badgers will look to wash this loss away and do some damage on the national level to close out their season.

“It’s gonna be tough,” said Rao, when talking about the quick turnaround. “[The loss] is hard today, it’ll be a little bit easier tomorrow, and then we have to get back at it on Monday. We don’t have any other choice.”

The Badgers and Rams will be joined by the Saskatchewan Huskies, Acadia Axewomen, Winnipeg Wesmen, Queen’s Gaels, Laval Rouge et Or, and the UPEI Panthers to round out the tournament. The Badgers have been assigned the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will open up against No. 5 Acadia on Friday.

Click here to stay up to date on the Badgers national tournament schedule, including dates, times, and links to stream.