Contributed by: Tyler Bennett / College Court Report Canada (@CCR_Canada)
What a streak it was.
Coming into the week, the Carleton Ravens hadn’t lost a game against an OUA opponent since their season opener in the 2016-17 season. They hadn’t lost a game overall since the 2016-2017 U SPORTS National Championship semifinals against the McGill Martlets. Carleton went undefeated last season to claim their first ever Bronze Baby. Everyone knew their streak would come to an end at some point, but we weren’t quite sure when that would happen.
That question was answered this past weekend.
While the host squads reigned supreme for the most part this week, the Ravens did not see the same fortunes as the majority of their fellow home teams. For the first time in more than a year, the Ravens will enter their next contest with ‘Lost 1’ under their current streak in the standings, which also leaves just one team in the league without a loss to this point in the season. And with the Christmas break right around the corner, the attention shifts to the Ryerson Rams to see if they can close out the first half of the year blemish-free.
Here are the story lines that you may have missed from the last seven days that span a full ninety-four feet.
Lakehead hands Carleton their first loss since 2016-17
The Carleton Ravens came into the new season as the defending champions for the first time in school history. Carleton rode a perfect season to the title and hadn’t suffered a loss since the 2016-17 season, kicking off their current campaign with a spotless 5-0 record as well. And with the Lakehead Thunderwolves rolling into the Raven’s Nest, they wanted nothing more than to keep that streak intact. Lakehead, however, had other plans.
The Thunderwolves proved that they are the real deal on Saturday. A night earlier, they suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Ottawa Gee-Gees inside Montpetit Hall, 83-55. Lakehead could have easily rolled over and conceded a sweep on the weekend against two of the top teams in the country, but instead, they came ready to play and rode their top two players to the major upset.
Lakehead is home to two of the top five scorers in the OUA, and they have arguably the top forward in the country in Leashja Grant (Nassau, Bahamas). Against the Ravens, Grant put the Thunderwolves on her back and she carried the team to the 56-52 win with a dominant showing on both ends of the floor.
Grant finished the night with 30 points and 24 rebounds, 16 of which came on the defensive end of the floor. She shot 13-of-26 from the floor over the game in 32 minutes of floor time. Nikki Ylagan (Mississauga, ON) was held to just seven points on 2-of-10 shooting in the win.
Second year guard Madison Reid (Carleton Place, ON) led the Ravens with 13 points in the loss.
Lakehead came out of the gate strong, scoring the first basket of the game to set the tone for the first quarter. Grant scored 11 points over the first 10 minutes to help the Thunderwolves take a 20-15 lead. The visitors extended their lead by a point before the end of the half to take a six-point cushion into the locker room. Carleton fought their way back in the third quarter to tie things up at 45-all heading into the final frame, setting up a stellar finish in the nation’s capital.
Despite the Ravens’ third quarter comeback, the Thunderwolves would not be denied in their upset bid. Lakehead outscored Carleton 11-7 in the fourth quarter to hand the Ravens the loss and end their streak of 34 straight victories. The result also marked their first loss against an OUA opponent since their season opener in 2016-17 against the Algoma Thunderbirds, a stretch of 47 straight league wins.
For Lakehead, it asserts them as a top contender in the OUA this season. They were able to bounce back from an off-night against Ottawa to knock off the national powerhouse, moving them just two points behind the McMaster Marauders for first place in the OUA West Division with a game in hand.
Home-court advantage across the OUA
While Carleton wasn’t able to defend the Raven’s nest, many of the other home teams this achieved a far more encouraging result.
Playing on your home court always gives a team an advantage. From the familiar sights and sounds to the home crowd at your back, it’s always easier to play at home than on the road. This past week in the OUA, the home cooking recipe prevailed in a predominant way.
Home teams went a combined 11-4 this weekend across the women’s basketball schedule. On Friday, host teams went a combined 6-1, with Ryerson picking up the lone win for the visitors on the night. Saturday was more of the same, as the road team won just two of six.
Apart from the Rams, who picked up two of the four road wins, the home sides were dominant. Just three of the 14 games this weekend were decided by single-digit margins, and all three of those games were won by the road team. On the flip side, home teams won their games by an average of 20.2 points, and seven of the 11 wins were decided by at least 20.
The Waterloo Warriors struggled on the road after picking up their first win of the season last week. Waterloo fell to the York Lions by 23 points on Friday night, and then lost to the Queen’s Gaels on Saturday by 24 to close out the week. Up north, the Algoma Thunderbirds held down their home court with a pair of double-digit wins. They knocked off the Laurentian Voyageurs by 13 points on Friday and followed that up with a 15-point win over the Nipissing Lakers on Sunday afternoon.
Ryerson sweeps weekend to remain undefeated
With Carleton’s loss to Lakehead, the Ryerson Rams are the lone undefeated team in the OUA, sitting at 7-0 after a perfect weekend on the road.
As discussed, the Rams were the outliers on the road this weekend and had their hands full with a pair of away games against the McMaster Marauders and Brock Badgers. The Marauders are the top team in the West Division, while the Badgers were riding a wave of momentum after back-to-back wins.
Against the Marauders, the Rams needed some fourth quarter magic to get the job done against a talented McMaster squad. The Marauders held a slim three-point lead after three quarters, but the Rams kicked things into another gear in the fourth frame to come away with the 89-80 win. Ryerson outscored McMaster by a 26-14 margin over the final 10 minutes to come away victorious.
Bronwyn Williams (Toronto, ON) tied the game at 70-all with a layup with 6:33 to play in the game. She followed that up with a jumper less than a minute later to give the Rams a 72-70 lead, and Ryerson wouldn’t trail the rest of the way. Williams finished with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
From there, the Rams were in St. Catharines, Ont. to take on Brock inside the Meridian Centre as a part of the doubleheader between Ryerson and the Badgers. The women’s game kicked off the night’s festivities, and the Rams put on a show for their fans that made the trip.
Ryerson held a three-point lead after the first quarter, but they blew things open through the middle of the game. The Rams outscored the Badgers 47-20 through the second and third quarters to extend the gap and had things on cruise control down the stretch to pick up their seventh win of the season with an 81-55 victory over Brock.
Marin Scotten (Ottawa, ON) led the way with 17 points in the win. It was a balanced attack for the Rams in the win as 11 of the 12 players who saw the floor recorded at least two points.