Women’s basketball wins first OUA title in program history

For the first time in program history, the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team are the reigning Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Champions, as they defeated the Queen’s Gaels by a score of 49-41 in the OUA Gold Medal game in Kingston on March 4.

“Obviously, it’s something we’ve been striving for for a number of years with the program,” Ravens head coach Taffe Charles said after the game.

The win marked the 21st straight victory for the Ravens, as they haven’t lost since a season opening defeat against the Algoma Thunderbirds on Nov. 18.

Heading into the game, the Ravens were also the only OUA team to defeat Queen’s this season, as they foiled the Gaels’ hopes for an undefeated season on Feb. 10 with a 60-52 victory in Kingston.

Charles said he believed that earlier victory helped give the Ravens extra confidence, but also provided a boost for the opponent.

“On the other hand, [Queen’s] had a bit more determination to not let it happen again. So it’s hard to beat a good team, and definitely hard to beat a good team on their floor two times, and we already played them earlier in the year as well,” he said.

Through the first quarter of the game, the Ravens found themselves holding onto a narrow one-point lead at 12-11. By the end of the second quarter, the Ravens were able to extend their lead to 26-21.

Queen’s struggled to generate momentum through the first half, as they shot 19 per cent from the field, and missed all eight attempts from three-point range. The Ravens were marginally better, as they hit 34 per cent of their shots, and one of six three-pointers.

The game remained close as the third quarter began. The Ravens were able to extend their lead to eight by the end of the quarter after outscoring the Gaels 10-7.

The eight-point lead would be enough for the Ravens to hold onto, and they exchanged points with the Gaels throughout the fourth quarter to prevent a comeback and seal a 49-41 victory.

Ravens forward Heather Lindsay led the Carleton offence with 15 points, and added 16 of Carleton’s 47 rebounds.

The Ravens will now prepare for the U SPORTS women’s basketball Final 8 for the first time since 2013. They’ll open the tournament as the top-ranked team against the host Victoria Vikes on March 9.

“The good news about the crowd at Queen’s was it was a very great basketball environment for university sports. We overcame that environment and it may be a similar environment for the host, they’ve been waiting all year for this game,” Charles said. “I think it’s supposed to be sold out the first day, that’s over 2,500 people, so again we’re looking forward to it, and definitely not taking them lightly.”

– Provided photo