OTTAWA, ON — The Carleton Ravens women's basketball team is heading back to the OUA Final Four for the first time since 2013 after taking down the Laurier Golden Hawks 68-51 in Saturday's quarterfinal at the Ravens' Nest.
Five Ravens players scored in double figures in the team's first playoff outing of 2017, while Carleton's top-ranked defence stifled the Golden Hawks to collect the team's 19th consecutive win.
Carleton and Laurier got caught up in a defensive battle in the first, as the sides went neck and neck throughout the opening quarter which resulted in 11-11 score after one. The Ravens (4) and Golden Hawks (3) combined for seven blocks in the stanza, a sure sign that points were at a premium. Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) led the Ravens with four points to go along with a pair of blocks in the first, while Nicole Morrison, Kaitlyn Schenck and Sarah Dillon each tallied three points for Laurier.
In the second, Carleton shot the ball with more confidence and opened up the game from beyond the arc with a three-point barrage. The Ravens knocked down four consecutive triples to build a 25-21 advantage, with Nicole Gilmore (Hamilton, ON), Elizabeth Leblanc (London, ON), Cynthia Dupont (Waterville, QC) and Catherine Traer all connecting from downtown. The Golden Hawks were able to keep pace with the Ravens up until the final minutes of the half when Carleton used a 9-4 finish to the half to gain a 34-25 upperhand after two quarters of play.
Laurier's Nicole Morrison opened the third with a triple to cut into the deficit, but Carleton's Cynthia Dupont scored seven straight points to give the Ravens a 14-point lead, 44-30, midway through the quarter. Carleton outscored the Golden Hawks, 17-11, in the period as the Ravens held a comfortable lead, 51-36, heading into the final frame.
With a 15-point cushion entering the fourth, Carleton closed out the contest with a 17-15 last quarter scoreline to earn the program's first playoff win since the 2013-14 season.
Carleton owned a slight edge over the Hawks on the boards, 51-44, while the Ravens ended the game with better shooting percentages from the field (28% to 26.8%), from beyond the arc (31% to 13.8%), and from the free throw line (85% to 64.3%). Carleton's defence, which led the OUA with 5.2 blocks per game during the regular season, swatted nine Laurier attempts in the matchup.
Second-year guard Cynthia Dupont paced the Ravens with a team-high 15 points (5-7 FG), which included three triples in 18 minutes of floor time. Forwards Catherine Traer (14 PTS, 12 REB) and Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, ON) (11 PTS, 15 REB) each posted a double-double, while Elizabeth Leblanc (8-10 FT) had a final line of 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Guard Nicole Gilmore contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.
Laurier, which won its first playoff game midweek against Toronto by shooting 44.1% (30-68 FG), struggled to find its range against the Ravens, finishing the evening 19-of-71 (26.8%) in a failed upset bid. Nicole Morrison (17 PTS) and Kaitlyn Schenck (12 PTS) were the top scorers for the Golden Hawks.
Carleton books its ticket to Kingston, ON as the Ravens will appear at next weekend's Critelli Cup hosted by Queen's University. The Ravens, who finished the regular season ranked No.2 in conference RPI, will play the OUA's third-ranked team, McMaster, in one semifinal, while the host Queen's, ranked No.1 in Ontario, will go up against fourth-seeded Windsor Lancers in the other semi.
The Ravens, who hold a 19-1 record in OUA play, will be gunning for their first Critelli Cup conference championship in program history and the team's first U SPORTS Final 8 appearance since 2013.
Source: Carleton Ravens