The Carleton Ravens look to become the first program since 1985 to win both the men’s and women’s U SPORTS championships on Sunday night. A double victory would make Carleton only the third program, and the first from outside of British Columbia, to win both titles, matching UBC and Victoria.
There’s no smooth road ahead of Carleton with a familiar foe and a rowdy host ahead.
On the women’s side, the Ravens will need to beat the Queen’s Gaels for the third consecutive time. It will be no easy task, though the Ravens are clicking the Gaels were 21-1 in the regular season and have flexed their sharp shooting at the Final 8 tournament beating UQAM in overtime before beating Alberta 72-62 in the semifinals.
Emma Weltz had 29 points for the Gaels in the quarterfinals before Laura Donovan stepped up scoring 21 in the semis. Julia Chadwick has been far from quiet for the Gaels too, after scoring eleven in the tournament opener, Chadwick scored a double-double Saturday.
The Ravens will need to continue their balanced attack if they want to find success Sunday. In their tournament opener three Ravens scored double-digit points while Jacqueline Urban and Dorcas Buisa both hauled in double-digit rebounds. In the semis Carleton was more balanced, while Kali Pocrnic had 17 points and rookie Kyana-Jade Poulin had 11, five other players scored points while three Ravens had 10 or more rebounds.
The Ravens have found success thus far in the tournament despite shooting 8-42 from beyond the arc, a number that may need to improve if they want to reclaim the Bronze Baby Trophy.
The Scotiabank Centre will be rocking when the tournament hosts from STFX face the Ravens on Sunday night.
The high-flying X-Men have knocked off Queen’s and the top-seed Victoria Vikes on their way to the championship. In front of rowdy Halifax crowds, the Ravens will need to play strong defence to quiet a STFX offence that’s been red hot.
On both Friday and Saturday, the X-Men scored big points early, blowing the doors off their opponents with 32 and 26 first quarter points. STFX led the Gaels 65-35 in the first half before barely holding off a push from the Gaels for a 107-98 victory.
STFX has had a balanced attack thus far, with three players scoring in double-digits in the semifinals including David Muenkat who had 10 points and 19 rebounds. Against the Gaels, Muenkat had 27 points including 9 at the line as STFX scored 36 points from the charity stripe.
The Ravens who enter the championship after knocking off the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a defensive battle will now look to continue to make history. The evil empire of U SPORTS basketball, Carleton can claim their 17th title in the past 20 years.
Connor Vreeken had a breakout performance for the Ravens on Saturday, scoring 27 points including a dagger drive to down the lane in the final minute to ice the Gee-Gees. Player of the game Aiden Warnholtz continues to impress, his 21 points Saturday, despite a ton of pressure from the Gee-Gees defenders made a huge difference as the Ravens got it done from the outside.
Both games will take place at 5 PM EST / 6 PM AST on CBCSports.ca