Written by Griffin Porter
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Carleton Ravens knew that they were in for a tough weekend to end the regular season, especially with star forward Alyssa Cerino out with an illness, but were able to come away with a 2nd straight win against a high quality opponent, as they defeated the Brock University Badgers 65-49. Carleton fell behind in the 1st quarter for the 2nd consecutive night, but once again showed both their skill and their heart as they were able to overcome the early deficit and secure the victory. “I thought it was a gritty performance” said head coach Brian Cheng after the game. “I think we needed to get some momentum going into the playoffs… and we secured a home berth”.
Just as they did last night against McMaster, the Ravens allowed their opponents to jump out to a 7-0 lead to start the game, before stabilizing and getting back into it. Carleton struggled with their offence for much of the 1st quarter, scoring just 11 points, but were able to hang in the game and trailed by just 6 points at the first break. From there, the Ravens discovered their offensive flow as they would score 17 points or more in each of the next 3 quarters. Carleton improved on their defence as well, limiting the Badgers to less than 10 points in each of the 2nd and 4th periods.
The Ravens were lead on offence by 3rd year guard Madison Reid, who stepped up to the plate with Cerino out and put up 20 points, including 5 made three pointers. 4th year forward Marlee Ball, who was honoured alongside Cerino as a part of Seniors’ Night, had 18 points over the course of the game, which she paired with 9 rebounds. Carleton’s strong defence played a central role in the game tonight, as they held Brock to just 25% shooting for the game, and limited the Badgers to just 5 makes from three point range on 26 attempts. Carleton also continued to improve on two areas that had plagued them for much of the season, rebounding and drawing fouls. The Ravens won the rebound battle 48 to 38, and allowed only 11 offensive rebounds off of the 56 Brock misses. Carleton also attempted 21 free throws, compared to just 10 for the Badgers.
The pair of wins over high quality OUA opponents couldn’t have come at a better time for the Ravens, as they head into the first round of the OUA playoffs later this week. When asked about the timing of the wins, Reid said that “This is perfect. We just went humble and hungry, and now we know that we can compete against really good teams. Obviously we knew that beforehand, but beating these two teams gives us the confidence going into playoffs that I think we really needed”.
While the win was important to the Ravens, another important aspect of the evening was the honouring of Alyssa Cerino and Marlee Ball for Seniors’ Night. “Two very special women” was how Cheng described his graduating players after the game. “Just some tremendous talent… (Marlee) has everything on her heart’s sleeve”. On Cerino, Cheng was quick to complement the leadership of his starting forward, saying “She’s had some very strong leaders to learn from… her leadership is getting better each and every day, just like her game”.
The Ravens will get the most important stretch of the season underway this Wednesday night, as they will face the York University Lions in the first round of the OUA playoffs at the Ravens’ Nest.