The first tweet Ryerson women’s basketball coach Carly Clarke posted after her team clinched a spot in the national championship tournament on March 6 said “What the heck do I do with all of these balloons!?”

With her 32nd birthday the following day, Clarke’s team had snuck into her hotel room in Windsor, Ont. and filled it with colourful balloons. Despite being on the road and competing in the program’s first Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final four, the team found some time for fun.

“She was surprised,” said third year guard C’airah Gabriel-Robinson with a laugh.

This season has been one full of surprises for the women’s basketball team, with the Rams setting records every time they hit the court. The team’s 16-3 record was its best ever. Their appearance in the final four last weekend was also a first. And when the team tips off against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in Quebec City on March 12, it will be its first appearance in a national championship.

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