KINGSTON, ON — A meeting between two of Canada's top women's basketball programs lived up to the billing in Friday's OUA.tv Marquee Matchup, as the nation's fifth-ranked Carleton Ravens came away with a highly impressive 60-52 road win over the country's third-ranked Queen's Gaels.
In what was one of the most impressive wins of Taffe Charles' tenure as Carleton's head coach, the Ravens were able to remain composed under immense pressure in a hostile environment to claim their fifteenth consecutive victory while handing the Gaels their first loss of the season.
"It was two pretty competitive teams going at it," said Taffe Charles following his side's monumental triumph. "I thought we hung in tough when they made a run in the third quarter. Nothing was easy, but winning a game against a very good team on their floor isn't supposed to be."
The visiting Ravens and host Gaels experienced an intense war of attrition in the opening act as both teams attempted to harness the adrenaline created by the playoff-like atmosphere. The two sides traded baskets throughout the first, before Carleton went on a small run to take a 13-7 lead on a Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) jump shot. The Ravens' defence looked nearly impenetrable up until the last 10 seconds of the frame, when Queen's Abby Dixon knocked down a three pointer before stealing the ball back at half court and finishing with the breakaway layup as time expired in the quarter.
Entering the second up by a single point, 13-12, Carleton continued to work away against an equally effective Queen's defence. The Ravens slowly built on their lead as Jenjen Abella (Hamilton, ON) buried a triple to put Carleton up 18-12, before forward Elizabeth Leblanc (London, ON) came up with a massive rejection in the paint on the defensive end. The Ravens held a 22-14 edge before the Gaels went on a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to two. In the final minute of the half, Catherine Traer hit from beyond the arc as Carleton would head into the intermission with a 27-23 advantage.
An exciting, uptempo third followed the break, as the Ravens and Gaels decided to flex their muscles on the offensive end of the floor early in the second half. Carleton exposed the Gaels' zone defence as Leblanc and Traer combined to hit three shots from beyond the arc as the Ravens went up 38-31. Queen's refused to lay down though, as senior Emily Hazlett inspired a late rally in the final minute with with a driving layup and a pair of free throws as the Gaels would go up, 40-39, moving into the fourth.
The neck-and-neck action spilled over into the last quarter, as a nerve-wracking final ten minutes saw both teams put everything on the line for the win. Down by only one, Carleton found a final burst of energy as Jenjen Abella and Nicole Gilmore each hit a three, followed by back-to-back jumpers by Elizabeth Leblanc as the Ravens went ahead 51-46. The visitors buckled down defensively late in regulation, shutting down the Gaels and holding the home team scoreless during a crucial four-and-a-half minute span that allowed the Ravens to ice the game from the free-throw line and secure the outcome.
The Ravens' starting five played a considerable amount of the team's minutes against the Gaels, with four players posting double figures. Catherine Traer had a team-high 14 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists, while Jenjen Abella added 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. Guard Nicole Gilmore ended the evening with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and a team-high five steals, and Elizabeth Leblanc came up with game's only double-double after scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Queen's Emily Hazlett was the game's high scorer with 16 points.
The win over Queen's marked Carleton's sixth victory of the season over a team currently ranked in the U SPORTS Top Ten.
The Ravens will look to extend their winning streak to 16 games tomorrow when they face the York Lions in Toronto. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
Source: Carleton Ravens