Less than a year ago, she was competing in her high school championship game, for a title that her Country Day School Cyclones had won three years in a row. Now, as a freshman, she is the starting point guard at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport, national championships.
The 5’10 point guard from Newmarket, Ontario was highly touted by many schools across the NCAA and Canada. Rochester, Buffalo, and Laurier were all after her talents, just to name a few. As her teammate and close friend Katherine Follis believes, she was sought after for good reason.
“Her movements are understated and she doesn’t seem intimidating. However, her play and her stats speak for themselves,” said Follis. “Opponents shouldn’t underestimate her.”
She has been playing basketball since she was six years old, and she has been playing ever since. “I didn’t really know too much about basketball back then, and I was already playing soccer. My friend was playing IEM, so I decided to give it a shot,” recalls Tiemens.
Not only did she love basketball, she was very good at it. She quickly found herself playing competitively, starting with the IEM league, and then moving up to ‘The JUEL of Ontario’, Canada’s first and longest running Provincial Basketball League.
She excelled in JUEL, and she was soon focused on getting a scholarship.
“Ever since I knew what a scholarship was, I’ve wanted to get one. When I was younger I thought of maybe playing in [the NCAA] or staying here, but I knew that I wanted to play basketball at college.”
Her hard work and raw talent, was certainly going to help her achieve that dream, and in Grade 10, offers from schools started to fill her mailbox.
“Around Grade 10, I knew I had to choose between soccer and basketball, especially if I wanted a scholarship,” said Tiemens of her dream of playing a sport in postsecondary. “I love soccer, and I still do, but there’s something about the pace and intensity of basketball that soccer [doesn’t have].”
Ryerson University, a smaller university in downtown Toronto, was the first to recruit her. As the other offers started to roll in, she always remembered the presentation of coach Clarke, and of the Department of Athletics. “It felt like [Ryerson] wanted me the most. They knew the most about me, and they made it clear that they wanted me.”
In the summer before she needed to commit to a school, she played for Clarke and her current assistant coach, Kait Taylor-Asquini in a summer league called “Junior Rams.” Tiemens says that that summer was one of the main factors in her final decision.
“I really liked the way [Clarke and Taylor-Asquini] ran games and practices, and I knew they could make me better.”
After committing to Ryerson, she excelled in her freshman year; posting 152 points, 33 assists, and 86 rebounds, including the women’s basketball program’s first OUA medal (bronze) and CIS berth.
“She added a great defensive element for us [at point guard], and played with the tempo we wanted offensively. Her length for the PG position makes her tough to guard, and her ability to make shots is a great asset,” said Ryerson head coach, Carly Clarke. “[She] is fearless, sometimes looks casual, but is a strong, tough player – a quality we look for in all our Rams.”
“Cara is a lot of fun to watch. She handles the point and is always looking for options,” says Rams basketball commentator Jordan Henry. “It’s like she was taught point guard on the fly last year – like trying to teach a kid to ride a bike when they’re already flying down the hill. There isn’t a part of the floor she won’t play.”
Tiemens helped lead her Rams to a sixth place finish at nationals, and with little roster turnover from last year, Ryerson is poised to have another strong season.
“We were happy with our finish last year (at nationals),” added Tiemens. “But we want more; I want more – I want to win.”