Written by Andrew Savory, Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Michael P. Hall
HAMILTON, ON – Next stop, Regina. The Carleton Ravens won their second straight Critelli Cup with a win over the McMaster Marauders by a score of 75-66 in front of a packed house at the Burridge Gym on Saturday afternoon. The highly anticipated game was a rematch of last year’s Critelli Cup semifinal that saw the Ravens narrowly defeat the Marauders, 55-54.
“We tried to play everybody. We’ve been doing that all year and were able to use our depth, which made a difference in the third quarter. We caught our defensive legs in the second half and got some stops,” head coach Taffe Charles said.
Fifth-year guard Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) rounded out her impressive OUA playoff run by filling the box score with 17 points on 5-of-12 from the field, including three three-pointers and three assists. Traer did her part defensively by collecting four rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 31 minutes.
“I knew we had a lot of family and friends and a lot of support as a couple of us are from Hamilton. Of course, the nerves were there a little bit, but we just had to stay focussed and get the win,” said forward Alyssa Cerino (Stoney Creek, ON).
Both teams entered the game ready to showcase the offensive and defensive firepower that helped them rise to the class of the OUA. Hilary Hanaka scored seven of McMaster’s first nine points before Carleton found its rhythm. With the game tied 9-9 midway through opening frame, point guard Jenjen Abella (Hamilton, ON) hit a pair of free throws to give Carleton a slim lead in front of her hometown audience. Freshman Madison Reid (Carleton Place, ON) and guard Karyne Jolicoeur (Ottawa, ON) hit consecutive threes to help the Ravens build a seven-point lead before the Marauders inched back to close out the quarter trailing 20-16.
The Marauders opened the second quarter on a 4-0 run to even the score at 20, but defence took over after that as neither team scored for the next three minutes until forward Elizabeth Leblanc (London, ON) finished a layup in traffic. Carleton and McMaster traded baskets for the next two minutes as neither team was able to wage more than a two-point lead. But McMaster managed to end the half on a strong note as the Marauders went on a 12-4 run to close out the second with a 36-28 lead at the break.
Carleton began to chip away at McMaster’s lead in the second half. After Jelena Mamic opened the frame with a three, fifth-year center Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, ON), Traer and Leblanc scored three straight layups before guard Stephanie Carr (Stittsville, ON) hit a three moments later to cap off a 12-0 run that saw the Ravens claw their way back into the game to take a 40-39 lead. McMaster answered with a 7-0 spurt of its own courtesy two layups by Hanaka and a three-pointer by Linnea Harper. Head coach Taffe Charles sensed the momentum shifting in the Marauders’ favour and called a timeout. The Ravens regrouped and responded with a pivotal 8-2 outburst that helped Carleton even the score at 48. But Hanaka, determined to spoil the Ravens’ best efforts, nailed yet another three. Just when it seemed that Carleton would enter the decisive 10 minutes behind by three, Leblanc raced down the floor and finished with a fast-break finger roll in transition as the third quarter clock expired.
“We kind of started off slow but we tried to not let it get to us. We were able to get rebounds, push it up in transition, make some shots and kept playing hard until the end,” Cerino said.
If the previous three quarters were any indication, a full house at the Burridge Gym knew that the fourth quarter would play out to a climactic finish. Lindsay got things started for the Ravens with one of her trademarked hook shots in the post, which Abella followed with a three-pointer. The lead continued to grow as Lindsay found her groove in the post and scored six straight points between the 6:09 and 4:40 mark of the quarter. The Ravens had a 64-55 lead with three and a half minutes left, but Hanaka cashed in on a miraculous four-point play after getting fouled on a corner three to bring McMaster to within five once more. But Lindsay answered immediately with a timely layup to ensure that the Ravens were able to outlast the Marauders on free throws until the final buzzer sounded and celebrations ensued.
“It’s a great feeling and we worked for this, so it’s a reward. But we’re all on the same page. We’ve had our moment and we’re happy we won the OUA, but we know what we want to do at nationals,” Cerino said
Both the Marauders and the Ravens will travel to the University of Regina next week for the beginning of the U SPORTS national tournament that goes from March 8 to March 11.
“We have a week to prepare for the team that we’re matched with. We know they’ll be prepared, too. I like our experience, our level of toughness and that we’ve been there before. My coaching staff and I will go over what we need to, and we’ll be ready,” Charles added.
KEY GAME STATS:
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME
#11 Catherine Traer – Forward – 5th year – Chelsea, QC
Carleton vs. TBD
Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport (CKHS) – Regina, SK
Thursday March 8, 2018 – TBD
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL P. HALL: