After reaching the OUA East Final in 2022, the Carleton Ravens women's basketball team is ready to take the next step as they tip off the 2022-23 season this Friday night.
Led by a strong group of veteran leaders and bolstered with an impressive recruiting class the Ravens enter the season with a new outlook and an increased focus on establishing their identity.
"We have a solid group of returning players and a solid group of freshmen and we're trying to find how that goes together," explained head coach Dani Sinclair.
In her third year and second season as the Ravens' head coach Sinclair is looking to find the chemistry and formula needed to take the team to the next level. "We're trying to build our level of toughness, competitiveness and physicality."
The Ravens will be able to leverage the experience they gained during a strong preseason schedule as building blocks for the year ahead. "There was a lot that we can draw from the preseason, we got to see a lot of different types of competition." Seeing so much competition has let the Ravens coaches quickly learn about their team, gaining a better understanding of who they have and how their rotations might look when OUA action kicks off on Friday.
At guard, the Ravens return Kali Pocrnic, Teressa Donato and Dorcas Buisa but will be without reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tatyanna Burke as she spends the year on an academic exchange. Without Burke in the line-up, the Ravens will need to be crisper on the defensive end. "She masked a lot," admits coach Sinclair. "We have some other people who have willingly stepped into that role, but it has forced us to be a better team defensively."
Up front, the Ravens are led by veteran forward Emma Kiesekamp. The final remaining member of the Ravens national championship team, Kiesekamp is surrounded by a group of young, strong Ravens ready to take the next step in the program's growth.
"We've got a really talented young group," admits coach Sinclair. "They have grown a lot in this preseason and have been able to build some trust with our veterans. It's fun, it's a battle every day."