Written by Alex Kurial
Photo by Richard Zazulak
HAMILTON, Ontario – Carleton’s national title defense came to an end on Thursday night as they fell 73-58 to the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton.
Things looked promising early for the Ravens as Madison Reid hit the first five points of the game, including an opening minute three. Back to back baskets by Emma Kiesekamp bumped the Carleton lead up to 9-3 midway through the quarter.
It was all McMaster after that however, as they quickly tied the game off a quick Linnaea Harper three and subsequent and one conversion from Hilary Hanaka. An Olivia Wilson jumper gave the Marauders their first lead of the game, and the home side closed the quarter on a blistering 15-1 run to grab an eight point edge after one.
Carleton had hit just 4 of 17 shots in the 1st quarter, and things didn’t get any better in the second frame. A field goal conversion rate of just 3 of 14 in quarter two saw the Ravens record only eight points during the frame. Combined with a series of turnovers – Carleton committing 10 in the first half – McMaster wasted no time taking full advantage of their opponent’s miscues. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, a stunned Ravens squad saw themselves trailing 41-18, following a 38-9 offensive stretch from the Marauders.
The defending champs were not ready to go quite yet though, and came out of the break flying on a 12-4 run to maintain some hope. Seven of the points came from forward Alyssa Cerino, who finished with a team high of 13. McMaster weathered the blow however, and soon had the lead back up to 20 to force a full timeout from Carleton’s head coach Taffe Charles.
Trailing 58-35 entering the final 10 minutes, Carleton’s final push to save the season failed to gain steam. After scoring the first four points of the quarter, a deep ball from Sarah Gates served as the final dagger. She, along with teammate Linnaea Harper, finished with a game high 16 points.
Four Ravens hit double digits in scoring, led by Cerino’s 13 to go along with her 10 rebounds for a double double. Madison Reid grabbed 11 points, while Emma Kiesekamp also hit the mark with 10. Cynthia Dupont knocked back 10 points in her final game with the Ravens, while Nicole Gilmore finished her collegiate career by hauling in a game high 12 rebounds.
It will be a bitter loss to swallow for Carleton who were just one win away from the opportunity to defend their championship at nationals next week. The departure of Gilmore, Dupont, and Alex Trivieri signal that it will be up to the new guard of players to return the Ravens to the heights of college basketball in the coming years.