By Jackson Starr (Photos: Valerie Wutti)
OTTAWA - It was a physical, entertaining game on a chilly Friday night at TD Place which saw the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team win 66-60 against the rival University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in the Capital Hoops Classic. Carleton asserted itself on the offensive glass and played a physical style to hold on for the win.
The Gee-Gees came out of the gate with some big shots, but the Ravens answered back with ferocity. Carleton was able to set the tone and play feisty defence, all while making big shots as the quarter went on. Kyana Jade Poulion (Brossard, Que.) came up big with a couple of big threes for six first-quarter points. Emma Keisekamp (Merrickville, Ont.) also had a strong first quarter in the paint, collecting six rebounds all around. Kali Pocrnic (Oakville, Ont.) got herself going and had a big three to help the Ravens' case. The Ravens held a 15-11 Ravens lead after one quarter.
The Gee-Gees made some adjustments early on in the second to close the gap, but the Ravens were able to maintain the lead. Pocrnic came up with some large plays on both sides of the ball, putting up nine points in the second. The Ravens asserted a solid structure as the quarter went on, generating momentum to open up an 11-point lead in the later stages of the half. Teressa Donato (Ottawa, Ont.) made some big shots and collected four points in the second quarter. Keisekamp continued her strong game in the paint as well, adding four points to her name as well. The Gee-Gees for their part put 14 points up in the quarter but couldn’t contain the Ravens as well on defence. Carleton carried a 34-26 lead to the dressing room at halftime.
The Ravens came out hot in the third, making it work from beyond the ark. Poulin, Donato and Oceane Kounkou (Gatineau, Que.) all made some big third-quarter threes to help open up the Ravens' lead. Carleton also did a terrific job on the offensive boards at collecting rebounds and picking up points in the paint. For that, Keisekamp had a massive third quarter, picking up three more rebounds and six points to her total. The Geegees battled back to close the gap a bit though, doing a good job and closing on the Ravens defensively. With that, both teams headed into the fourth quarter in a 53-45 game for Carleton.
It was a back-and-forth final quarter of the game, with the Gee-Gees finding some momentum after a difficult third. Keisekamp continued her strong night with 18 points and 15 rebounds, adding another double-double to her season total. Dorcas Buisa (Gatineau, Que.), who had a quiet first portion of the game, made some big plays on both sides of the ball in the fourth, helping Carleton. The game closed up with the Gee-Gees making some big shots down the stretch and closing the Ravens' lead to five points.
The Ravens were able to get big stops in the final minute to hold that lead and in the end held on to take victory at the classic against its rival 66-60.
The win is Carleton’s 14th on the season and 10th in a row, boosting its record to 16-2 on the year. The Ravens will play host to the Laurentian Voyageurs next Friday, February 10th at the Ravens’ Nest kicking off a two-game homestand on the weekend.
FROM HEAD COACH DANI SINCLAIR:
“As expected, physical, competitive battle. We went on some runs through the middle of the game and they knew they were going to make plays to come back and they did. Two good teams battling it out.”
On Veteran Leadership in This Game:
“I think that was important. (Emma’s) played in more of these games than anybody else and she was big for us, had a couple big baskets and was good for us defensively. We needed some calm, (it) doesn’t always come from me or the staff. Kali and Emma provide that for us, really proud of (Emma) for leading us down the stretch.”
“A lot of challenges ahead, were in what you could say is the toughest division in the country with uOttawa, Queens and even next weekend we have Nipissing and Laurentian who are both very good teams that will give us some trouble. Hopefully something that we can keep building on and see what happens going into playoffs.”
FROM KALI POCRNIC:
“The energy was crazy. The atmosphere with all the fans…it was just crazy. It was a little bit nerve racking but once we got the game going the nerves went away and we all settled into the game.”
On preparing for Cap Hoops:“I feel like we normally look at every game as just any other game. We prepare the same, we just treat it like any other game.”
On Playing the Gee-Gees:
“They’re a great team, every year we play them twice or three times, we know it's going to be a tough game every time we see them so it's always something we look forward to.”
FROM EMMA KEISEKAMP:
“For a lot of girls on the team, it's their first Capital Hoops at TD (Place) so I think that everyone is really excited today. We’re really happy that we were able to execute and get the job done, execute what we practiced all week.”
“I was just playing in the moment. Thinking of my team, not trying to be selfish at all. I just was aggressive, looking to score for myself, looking to get all the rebounds I could get, just being aggressive.”
On teams success over 10 Game Winning Streak:
“We’ve realized that practice shows in games. If we take one practice off and were lazy and were not executing then it shows in the game. We’ve taken it a lot more seriously this semester, and we just practice really hard and it's shown in games.”