UTMAC’s night of basketball started off at the pub on Wednesday with pregame festivities, including drinks, music, dancing, and giveaways. UTM’s mascot, the Eagle, was busting a move on the dance floor. At 7:15, the pregame partiers left the pub and headed to the RAWC gym for the women’s tri-campus basketball game against UTSC.
The tip-off was at 7:30 p.m., and within the first few minutes UTM made it clear that they were hungry for the win. The last time UTM faced UTSC, the Eagles scraped for a 51–46 win in Scarborough. This time, the team showed a lot of improvement and was able to complete the plays they had practised the night before.
Essence Penaloza was on fire, scoring a three-pointer, four of four foul shots, and a basket for UTM. Her teammate Navi Sohal also scored nine points. By the end of the first half, the score was 29–14 in UTM’s favour.
The second half of the game was a little more difficult for the Eagles. UTSC came out strong, determined not go down without a fight. UTM answered with a tight defence, only letting in six baskets in the entire half. Meanwhile, they put a zone press on UTSC, shutting them down and making numerous steals. The Eagles were strong off the boards on both offence and defence, getting a majority of the rebounds.
The girls on the UTM bench were energetic, jumping and cheering for their teammates and shouting encouragements from the sideline.
Sohal continued her scoring streak, netting seven more points for UTM, and was top scorer of the game with 16 points. UTM proved to have more skill from the foul line than their opponents, shooting 10 for 15, compared to UTSC’s 1 for 8.
When the buzzer went at the end of the game, the score was 44–26 for UTM. Coach Stephanie Kishimoto was proud of her team. “It was a good team win tonight,” she said after the game. “Every player contributed positively to the win.”
“We knew that the fans would be here and that we had to play well. I think the girls played great!” said coach Jack Krist.
The team plays again on Sunday, November 25 at 10 a.m. against St. George Blue at the St. George gym.