On Wednesday, December 20th, the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) was at max capacity for the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold vs the University of Connecticut (UCONN) Huskies exhibition game.
It was the homecoming game for UCONN forward, Aaliyah Edwards. Edwards is also known for making her Olympic debut at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, as a player on the Canadian women’s basketball team.
Wednesday night’s game was one of the most exciting events that the MAC has ever seen. Over 3000 fans sold out tickets and took the stands to welcome the Kingston, ON-born basketball star, as well as support the TMU Bold women’s basketball team.
The UCONN Huskies dominated the court, finishing with a 77-point lead. The final score of the game was 111-34
As the buzzer went off, the announcer’s voice became hard to hear as fans roared out with cheers and claps to celebrate Aaliyah Edwards being back at home and playing in her home country.
Although having faced a loss, the Bold walked off of the court with nothing but smiles and excitement as this game has created everlasting memories and new challenges. “This game is an experience our players will never ever forget,” said head coach Carly Clarke.
Clarke was optimistic that this night could provide the players with more future experiences, and allow them to learn new things about themselves as players and the skills that they obtain.
The head coach also mentioned that this challenging game will make the team come back next season knowing a lot more about the game, and hopes that creating more similar situations for Canadian programs will attract fans to come out and support more Canadian college teams as well.
After the game, homecoming senior, Aaliyah Edwards talked about how she hopes this game “leads [to a] big impact on women’s basketball in Canada.” The Canadian basketball player talked about how important showing up for local college teams can be and how beneficial they are in regards to opening up new experiences for student athletes.
“I think having Coach being able to put this on for not only me but just to showcase this in Canada is a big step for us and I think that we can continue to just provide opportunities for us as athletes.”
Edwards was a shining light on the court Wednesday night, collecting a total of 26 points with teammate, KK Arnold, a freshman at UCONN, collecting a new career high of 21 points.
For the Bold, guard Catrina Garvey collected a total of 10 points, while guard Jayme Foreman followed with a nine-point contribution.
Although the game resulted in a loss, the TMU Bold remains undefeated in their season, and Coach Clarke believes that the players will use this game as a learning experience, and apply it when they step back onto the court in the new year.
December 20th will truly remain a night to remember for the TMU Bold, as well as fans here in Toronto and all across the country. Many were in hopes that this night would inspire more push around women’s basketball in Canada, and with the turnout of fans and young children in the stands at this game, it might have created a historical shift for Canadian college athletes.