Written by Griffin Porter
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Ravens offence struggled against the length of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, and they were unable to shoot the ball accurately from distance, leading to a lack of points in their 66-49 loss on Wednesday night at the Ravens’ Nest.
Carleton played decently strong defense throughout the game, holding Ottawa to 38% shooting from the field. However, they weren’t able to overcome their offensive woes and dropped to 9-2 on the season headed into the winter break.
The Ravens went into the heavyweight clash with their crosstown arch-rivals riding high on a 7 game win streak, but knew that they were in for some tough sledding against the Gee-Gees, who came into the game just one place behind Carleton in the U SPORTS rankings. Carleton got off to a shaky start that turned out to be an indicator of things to come, as they struggled to score early in the game, putting up only 10 points in the 1st quarter.
Star 5th year guard Alyssa Cerino came out of the first break hot, as she picked up 4 quick points at the start of the 2nd to get Carleton back into the game, and was able to cut the Ottawa lead back to 4. Cerino had 10 of the first 14 Carleton points, and it was Cerino and 4th year forward Marlee Ball who carried the vast majority of the Carleton offence throughout the evening. The two combined to take 36 of Carleton’s 60 field goal attempts, and scored 26 of the team’s 49 points. Unfortunately, both players struggled against the stingy Ottawa defence, and neither shot over 35%. Asked after the game, interim Head Coach Brian Cheng shed some light on the Carleton strategy, saying “We try to get our best players the ball, and their job is to either score or generate scoring opportunities for their teammates. We’ve been successful up to this point”.
The Carleton offence continued to struggle after the brief hot start to the 2nd quarter, failing to get any consistent momentum going as the Ottawa lead grew to double figures. One chance for a Ravens run came with 3 minutes left in the 1st half, as 1st year guard Kali Pocrnic hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 9, but the Gee-Gees called a timeout and then scored 5 quick points after the stoppage, quickly restoring their double digit lead. The Ravens went in to halftime down 38-26, as turnovers began to become an issue along with the rough shooting percentages. Carleton scored just 8 points in the 3rd quarter, and that more or less sealed their 2nd loss of the year.
The Ravens will now get more than a month off to write exams, visit their families, and also work together to grow as a team, as this loss will have to sit with them until their next chance to get in the win column on January 10th. The last time the Ravens faced adversity this season, a late collapse against Queen’s that cost them their first game of the year, they responded with a 7 game win streak. Asked what he wants his players to take away from this second loss of the year, coach Cheng replied “We got to success by working hard and remaining humble… we’ve been humbled tonight, so we have to remain humble and hungry to maintain and get better”. Carleton now has this performance as a definitive measuring stick that they can use when they face the Gee-Gees again at Capital Hoops in February, and it certainly seems as though they will enter the 2nd half of the season hungrier than ever to prove themselves as an elite team once again.