By: Tristan Forde (Photos from Cape Breton University / U SPORTS)
Cape Breton, NS. – The Carleton Ravens won a tightly contested quarter-final matchup against the Cape Breton Capers on Thursday night 56-51.
Sounds of drums, pots, air horns and anything else the Capers fans could get their hands on echoed throughout the Sullivan Fieldhouse in support of the hometown team. Luckily, Carleton is no stranger to playing in front of a hostile crowd. CBU played a solid first half of basketball, holding a 10-point advantage with five minutes left to play in the second quarter.
The Ravens only trailed for a short time; they played excellent defence to close the half, only allowing the Capers to score four points in the last 5 minutes. The momentum began to tilt in Carleton’s direction when guard Teresa Donato (Ottawa, ON) grabbed a steal that gave her team a spark of energy. The ravens finished the first half ahead by 1 point.
“I think what saved us was the last few minutes of the second quarter, we were down double digits, and that is where Teresa Donato came in and changed the game for us,” said head coach Dani Sinclair. Donato showcased her offensive repertoire, getting buckets from all over the court as well as her tenacious defence. She finished the game with 13 points, six rebounds, and two steals off the bench, ultimately naming her the Ravens Player of the Game.
Contributions from the likes of Dorcas Buisa (Gatineau, QC) and Kali Pocrnic (Oakville, ON) helped guide the Ravens to victory. Buisa played outstanding on both ends of the floor, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 boards to go along with it. This performance gave Buisa her first final-eight tournament double-double. Pocrnic struggled to shoot early due to the Capers's tight defence but got rolling in the second half, making her usual spectacular passes and getting to the line often. She finished with 15 points and four assists.
With a win in the quarter-finals, Carleton will head to the semi-final round on Saturday, where they will go head-to-head with the Saint Mary’s Huskies from Halifax, NS. This will be the seventh time these two teams play each other in program history - but the first outside of the preseason. The most recent matchup came in the 2022-23 preseason and saw the Ravens walk away with a 10-point victory 72-62.