Hamilton duo part of undefeated U Sports basketball championship team

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Published April 3, 2022 at 9:29 pm

Hamilton hoopsters Kaillie Hall and Jayme Foreman hoisted championship hardware on Sunday as part of an undefeated team.

Hall completed her first season in U Sports basketball by contributing energy and depth scoring off the bench to help the Rams from downtown Toronto complete their perfect 24-0 season. The Stoney Creek native chipped in seven points in 15 minutes as the Rams, whose university is in the midst of a renaming process, routed the Winnipeg Wesmen 70-48 to claim the Bronze Baby championship trophy for the first time.

Mississauga native Stefanija Mrvaljevic, one of the Rams’ captains, also played for the Hamilton Transway club team as a teenager.

COVID-19 safety measures — after an entire season lost to the pandemic in 2020-21 — meant that top university basketball teams in Ontario University Athletics played 12 to 15 fewer games than they would a typical season. Nevertheless, the Rams are the first U Sports team to have a perfect season since Simon Fraser did so in 2004-05.

The wire-to-wire run included overtime wins against the Brock Badgers on back-to-back Saturdays. The Rams won 56-48 in the semifinal on Saturday. Seven days earlier, in the Ontario final on the Badgers’ home court in St. Catharines, they rallied from 22 points down for a 72-70 win. The comeback clinched the No. 1 seed in the eight-team national tournament.

Brock wound up fourth in the nation after losing in the bronze-medal game on Sunday.

Hall, a sport media major and former former NCAA Division 1 player at Bowling Green, is no stranger to cutting down the netting after a championship. In her teens, she won a national under-17 title with Team Ontario and also helped Lincoln Prep capture two Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association crowns.

Over the run of the season, Hall averaged 7.5 points per game, typically as a rotational player.

Foreman, one of the Rams’ rookies, also developed her game at Lincoln Prep.

The Rams are the fifth first-time champion in the last six seasons, with a pandemic pause in 2020-21 included in that timeline. Hamilton’s McMaster Marauders were the most recent first-time champion back in 2019.

The Saskatchewan Huskies, coached by McMaster alumna Lisa Thomaidis, are the only team with multiple titles in that stretch, having won their first Bronze Baby in 2016 before earning another in 2020.

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