Kingston, Ontario – In a battle with serious playoff implications the Ravens out dueled the Queen’s Gaels 64-61 for a massive road win.
The Ravens trip to Queen’s University on Friday night required them to grind for every possession, as the two teams traded 6 lead changes and four ties with second place in the OUA East on the line.
After the win, coach Dani Sinclair was the first to admit it was a different Ravens team than the one in action last week against the Gee-Gees. “Compared to last week, said coach Sinclair. “We fought hard and we made plays, it wasn’t pretty basketball, but that’s to be expected this year.”
Madison Reid (Carleton Place, Ont.) broke an early deadlock with a pair of threes as the Ravens took an early 6-0 lead. Both teams would exchange points throughout the quarter as Carleton would get into foul trouble, putting the Gaels in bonus and allowing them to chip their way back into the contest. A late three from Kali Pocrnic (Oakville, Ont.) and a jumper from Tatyanna Burke (Winona, Ont.) would lead the Ravens into the quarter break up by 3, 19-16.
The Gaels would take advantage of Ravens turnovers and fouls early in the second quarter to take a 4 point lead before Reid and Pocrnic would score back-to-back to retake the advantage. Throughout the second, both teams continued to exchange big runs with the Ravens going 5-0 before the Gaels would follow up with a 5-0 run of their own. Rather than settle in, the Ravens would go on a 7-0 run, capped off by five points from Pocrnic to re-establish the lead. When things finally slowed down, the Ravens found themselves ahead 34-31 with 1:18 to play in the half.
In the third quarter, the Ravens would look to pull away, building up to a 12-point lead before Gaels would fire back with eight straight points, capped off by a Laura Donovan going back-to-back with a three and jumper to cut the lead to four. After Reid and Burke would rebuild the lead to eight, Donovan hit another three-pointer to end the quarter 53-48.
In the fourth and with a first-round bye on the line, the Gaels would come out firing. Isabella Belvedere and Sophie de Goede would catch fire and the Gaels would chip away to within one, drawing the game to 59-58. With Kali Pocrnic on the bench for most of the third and fourth quarter, it was a team effort that saw the Ravens keep ahead as Emma Kiesekampe, Teressa Donato, Dorcas Buisa and Reid would all score to keep pace with the desperate Gaels.
“I’m pretty proud of them the way they stepped up,” said coach Sinclair. “It’s not just because you win the game, but we fought hard and whatever the outcome, you can live with that when you play that way.” After a quiet first half, Carleton’s bench played a big role in the final minutes of the game without Pocrnic.
“It’s a bit of a reflection of our inexperience off the bench, those players are learning to play at this level, but this is the first time for some of them that they’ve played at this time of year in playoff-type games.” While a new experience for many Ravens, others, like Dorcas Buisa, are playing in new roles which include more big minutes.
After a Laura Donovan three forced the Ravens to call a timeout to advance the ball, a forced inbound violation would allow the Gaels to call a timeout, moving the ball up court for a final play with 5.6 seconds left on the clock.
On the inbound, Emma Kiesekamp would get a hand on the ball, taking the ball out of Laura Donovan’s hands and forcing Sophie de Goede to try a long three that missed.
With the win the Ravens now to have secured second place in the OUA East with senior night on the schedule tomorrow night. With the loss, the Gaels now find themselves at risk of being on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
From the Stats Sheet
Make ‘em Pay – The Ravens outscored the Gaels 19-6 off turnovers, including an impressive 17-1 in the first half.
3-Point Party - Ravens 6/11 in the first half from beyond the arc.
Quiet bench – in uncharacteristic fashion the Ravens had zero points from the bench in the first half. Buisa (4) and Donato (2) would come up big in the second half scoring six of the Ravens 11 fourth quarter points to maintain the lead.
Beaten on the Boards – the Gaels dominated the boards out rebounding the Ravens 42-29 on the back of an overwhelming 27-12 in the first half.