Ravens Sports Information (Photo by Valerie Wutti)
The Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team remains undefeated in 2023 after a 73-61 win over the #7 ranked Guelph Gryphons.
The 9th ranked Ravens looked to prove they were very bit a top team in Canada on Saturday night as they hosted the seventh-ranked Gryphons at the Ravens’ Nest. The Ravens struggled at times in the first quarter missing open looks including going 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. While the Gryphons made life difficult for Carleton inside, they led the Gryphons in rebounds and points in the paint in the first. On the final possession of the quarter Kali Pocrnic (Oakville, Ont.) drove hard to the lane scoring her fourth field goal of the quarter and cutting the Guelph lead to six.
Carleton had almost completely erased the Gryphons lead to start the second quarter after Teresa Donato nailed a long three from the wing to make it a one score game. The two teams continued to trade points throughout as Pocrnic and Emma Kiesekamp (Merrickville, Ont.) heated up for the Ravens. With just over two minutes to go in the quarter the Ravens had evened the score forcing Guelph to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Teresa Donato (Ottawa, Ont.) would hit a midrange jumper to put the Ravens ahead for the first time since they opened the scoring.
With a 35-33 lead at the half, Carleton started the second on a 11-6 run as Pocrnic began turning up the pace on the Gryphons scoring 6 of the Ravens first 11 points in the quarter. As the Ravens pulled ahead by as many as 11 the Gryphons struggled to find an answer in the paint against Kiesekamp and the Ravens. After Alexis Wright and Kali Pocrnic traded threes to end the quarter the Ravens led entering the final ten 57-46.
The Ravens were relentless in the fourth, outscoring Guelph 16-15 while six players scored. While Pocrnic led all scorers with 27 points, Kiesekamp recorded 14 rebounds and 14 points for the double-double. Playing against her sister Alexandra, rookie Jacqueline Urban had nine assists and seven points.
Carleton head on the road next weekend where they’ll visit Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan before returning home on Friday, January 27 to host the Queen’s Gaels.
Tickets for the game in two weeks are on sale now and selling quickly.
"We always preach defence, team defence and effort and that's what we were able to do, especially through the second half. Particularly, in the third quarter there was a stretch of about three minutes where we didn't score, but we were able to get stops."
On the team's defensive play . . . "It is what Carleton is known for, and I don't know if there's any coach that's not preaching that, you need to be able to do that, but I think it's starting to sink it a little bit. We're making them take tough shots tonight, in that third quarter, that we weren't doing."
"We're not looking too far ahead, we're just trying to focus on the process, as cliche as that sounds. We have a few young players who have played major minutes. There's a lot of parity in the league and anybody can beat anybody on any given night so we always have to try to get better and see what happens."
On the team's slow start . . . "Our tendency sometimes is to feel the game out sometimes. I thought they came in, charged in and played with a lot of confidence in the first five minutes but our girls were calm and didn't panic. I would prefer we came out a bit more aggressive . . . and I'm hoping we can address that and be better."
On the crowd support from local youth teams . . . "It's huge, our girls are over there signing autographs right now, it's where I started - coaching at the youth level. Being involved in sports means a lot - you learn so much, you make friendships and relationships for a lifetime. For these young athletes, maybe there's a few of them in the stands that want to come play at this level, but for nothing else their great role models and it's great to be playing in front of fans like that."
On her recent play . . . "This is it for me, I'm graduating so I want to give everything I have to the team these last two months and not hold anything back. I want to be successful and help my team as much as possible, to get as many wins as we can, and hopefully that leads to us coming together and playing as a team."
On the team's slow start . . . "We can't let the first few minutes set the tone for the game, the message to me was that I can't just sit back and feel out the game. I had to change it my second shift, and I think that leads to everybody being more aggressive. The young people seeing that, see Kali [Pocrnic] going hard to the boards, seeing Dorcas [Buisa] going hard to the boards, me going to the boards, it helps the young people feel confident and want to work as hard as us."
On her veteran role . . . "Between Dorcas, Kali and I, and even some of the other veteran players on the team, it's just about coming out, bringing energy and being the best we can on the court. Of the court, yes I'm vocal with the team, but on the court, I'm just leading by example and trying to show that you can be the best on the court if you just put your mind to it."