Written by Alex Kurial
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – A complete performance from the Carleton Ravens started their playoff run off right as they downed the Ryerson Rams for the third time this season 74-49.
Having edged out Ryerson for a first round bye in the final weekend of the regular season, Carleton put their reward to good work early by jumping out to a 7-0 lead in front of their home crowd. The run was started via a three point shot from 2nd year guard Madison Reid, a sign of things to come throughout the game.
The Ravens defense was showing off as well, with a big block by forward Alyssa Cerino on a Hayley Robertson shot transitioning into a Karyne Jolicoeur jumper at the opposite end to make it 9-1. When the Rams cut the lead to four, Carleton began a two minute stretch where their pressure resulted in four steals. Rookie forward Sydney Fearon got things started with a strip of Marin Scotten and sending the ball to Reid at the other end who dipped under her defender for a layup. Fearon would add another steal in the quarter, and finish with a game high of three, along with teammate Jolicoeur.
Cerino had a pair of steals during the stretch as well. Carleton’s full control over the opening quarter was highlighted late in the quarter when 5th year veteran Nicole Gilmore put her defender on the ground before finding Cerino to nail the open three.
Up 18-8 after the first, Ryerson worked their way within seven before the Ravens rattled off a 9-0 run to establish some distance. Reid contributed five of the points, with her deep ball to make it 27-13 forcing a Ryerson timeout. She was back to work right out of the huddle, rejecting a Scotten shot and seeing the ball go the other way for a Fearon layup.
With just under three minutes to go in the second quarter Reid drilled her third three of the game to run Carleton’s lead to 36-17. She finished the first half with 15 points, just two less than the Ryerson total. Cerino hit a shot in the final minute as she was knocked to the ground to grab a 38-17 lead at the break.
Reid was back to work from downtown in the second half by hitting an early three, which was immediately followed by a Gilmore three to stretch the lead to 46-19. The pair were responsible for the first eight Ravens points of the quarter. Off a Jolicoeur steal, Reid later left her defender staring as she drove in for the layup to see her hit 20 points, and make it 53-29 for the home side.
The final minute of the 3rd quarter saw a Jolicoeur three, Cerino layup off a clever inbounds setup, and finally a strong basket from guard Cynthia Dupont to put Carleton firmly in control 60-34 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Gilmore had the opening four points of the 4th, including an offensive board and put-back layup. A Dupont three from in front of her bench on the next possession meant the Ravens Nest crowd could start to celebrate. Reid connected on a final three pointer midway through the quarter to see her finish with a game high 23 points on five made deep balls.
Gilmore had a high production game as well, grabbing 13 points and 11 rebounds for the double double. She was just one assist short of the rare triple double, with a game high of nine. Cerino (12) and Dupont (11) also hit double figures in points.
Carleton’s work on the defensive end was as impressive as their offense, as they held Ryerson to single digit points in both the opening quarters. As in the previous two meetings top scoring forward Sofia Paska was held to just two field goals and 10 points, while dangerous three point shooter Cara Tiemens was allowed to connect just twice from deep.
Head coach Taffe Charles talked after the game about how his team bought fully into the defensive effort. “Our post did a great job. I think our guards helped our post. And we were engaged in terms of when we were doubling,” explained Charles.
Madison Reid was also pleased with her team’s paint presence on defense. “We were really happy that we shut down the offensive boards,” she said, with Carleton holding the Rams to just five offensive boards while grabbing 12 themselves. “Ryerson out-rebounded Laurentian by a ton [in the opening round of the playoffs, Paska had 11 offensive rebounds], so definitely with Paska in the post that’s something that we really focused on, and we were really happy with that.”
The team’s overall compete level was also singled out for success by Charles. “I thought we put everything together today. All of the people on the team were engaged in the actual result right from the get go,” said Charles. “We were energized right from the jump. We knew what was at stake here. We knew it was win or go home, and we didn’t want to go home.”
Reid agreed that her team was fired up from the time they hit the court. “We went into the game with a lot of energy, that was one of our main focuses,” said Reid. “If we bring energy throughout the whole game that’s going to hype us up.”
The Ravens will now be heading to Hamilton for a Wednesday night tilt against the McMaster Marauders in the semifinals. McMaster came out on top in the lone regular season matchup via a 64-52 win at the Ravens Nest back in November. Charles knows it will be a steep task, but one his team showed they will be up for.
“They’re a good team, they’re a physical team. Going to their place, it’s going to be tough,” said Charles. “If we have the same engagement that we had here, then I like our chances.”
Ravens Player of the Game: Madison Reid – Guard – 2nd Year