Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA – The Ravens’ first taste of home preseason action took place on Friday night as they hosted the Concordia Stingers. After falling behind early, the Ravens would be persistent, battling back throughout the game for a hard-earned 78-73 victory.
The Stingers shooting got off to a hot start in the first and early in the quarter the Ravens found themselves trailing 8-2. As both teams struggled to find consistent shooting the Ravens would dominate the boards with Tatyanna Burke (Winona, Ont.) and Ocean Kounkou (Gatineau, Que.) rebounding well in the offensive end. Despite being stronger on the boards, the Ravens found themselves behind by 11 and the end of the first quarter, trailing the Stingers 18-7.
Madison Reid would start the second half with a pair of drives through the key that would start the Ravens’ momentum. As the Ravens made substitutions late in the half, Dorcas Buisa (Gatineau, Que.) and Teresa Donato (Ottawa, Ont.) carried the momentum as the Ravens clawed back the 11-point deficit. At the half, the Ravens had closed the gap to two, trailing 33-31.
The Ravens elevated their pace to start the third quarter as they continued to force Concordia to miss on offence. The Ravens would finally take the lead 39-38 midway through the quarter. Emma Kiesekamp (Merrickville, Ont.) would play a key role in the third-quarter swing, with several key rebounds to drive the Ravens further into the lead.
Concordia’s shooting would heat up again in the fourth quarter, going on a 13-8 run to jump out to a 5 point lead with 6 minutes to play. As the Ravens stormed back, Kalli Pocrnic (Oakville, Ont.) would rattle in a clutch three to tie the game late. After going back down by three, Burke would drive the lane for an and-one tieing the game again at 71 as the clocked ticked under two minutes to play.
After winding down the clock to under 45 seconds to play, Pocrnic would again drive the lane giving the Ravens their first cushion of the game. Up by three, in a two-possession game, Pocrnic would miss her next layup but Kiesekamp would grab the rebound, forcing the Stingers to foul and securing the victory.
Asked about their early preseason competition, Ravens’ coach Dani Sinclair felt their tough opponents RSEQ were helping the Ravens to improve. “We’ve got a lot of room for growth, Concordia is really tough and they exposed some of our weaknesses. It’s early, and there are some good signs, but lots of work to be done.”
The Ravens will continue their preseason on the road Sunday as they prepare for their home opener on Friday, November 5, 2021.
Asked about the year ahead, coach Sinclair is excited for what the future holds. “It’s a mix of young talented players and good talented veterans and we’re excited to have fans in the gym. We’ve been working hard for the last year and a half to be ready for this. Part of that fun is having fans, family, and friends come out and we can’t wait.”