U SPORTS Women's Basketball: Conference Finals

U SPORTS Women's Basketball: Conference Finals


No. 4 Ravens beat No. 5 Gaels 49-41 to win first Critelli Cup title in program history

KINGSTON, Ont.- The Carleton Ravens earned its first OUA banner in program history on Saturday evening at the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC), defeating the host Queen's Gaels by a score of 49-41 in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,904. 

After losing their first game of the season back in November, the Ravens ran the table throughout the rest of their conference and playoff schedule, winning 21 straight contests, the last of which came in a formidable defensive effort against a Gaels squad that also lost only once in the regular season. That defeat also came against the Ravens on February 10 at the ARC. 

"It's been a long time coming for this program," said Carleton bench-boss Taffe Charles. "We work hard and I thought this team deserved it, we did a lot of great things this year and overcame a lot of adversity. We're just pleased to win in an absolute hostile environment, defense can win championships and it doesn't fail you especially when things are tight." 

Carleton held the Gaels to a 19.7% (15-76) shooting percentage and just two three-point field-goals on the night, while managing just enough offense of their own against a stingy Queen's squad that held them to a 27.1% (16-59) efficiency. 

OUA first-team all-star Heather Lindsay tallied a game-high 15 points and 16 rebounds in the victory, and was named the Porter Airlines player of the game in helping the Ravens raise the Critelli Cup Trophy for the first time in its history. 

"It was a big statement win for our program," said Lindsay. "We go out there, we see a target and we just try and beat it. That was our goal on the year and we did it for our coach." 

"I've known Heather since she was 14-years old and just to see her growth as a basketball player is amazing," said Charles. "When the players want it more than the coach that's what you want to have and she really led this team." 

Fellow first-team all-star Catherine Traer added nine points and seven rebounds for the Ravens. 

The Gaels were led by first-team conference all-star Emily Hazlett, who picked up 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Marianne Alarie tallied 12 points and six rebounds, while Robyn Pearson – also a first-team all-star – added seven points and a game-high 18 rebounds. 

The Gaels' sole title remains its OUA championship victory in 2000-01. 

"I felt we got good looks at the hoop a number of times, and even when we had those good looks we couldn't make it," said Queen's coach Dave Wilson. "This one we'll just have to forget and move on to the next one (at U SPORTS) and see who we draw. The atmosphere that we had (at the ARC), the signs, the noise, everything like that, it was just a fun place to play." 

With a raucous ARC crowd eager to make its presence felt, both teams started out a bit hesitantly in their respective offenses though the opening 10 minutes of the finals, combining for just eight field goals. After Hazlett (Fredericton, N.B.) scored at the 4:59 mark, the Gaels would go cold for the next four minutes, and the Ravens were able to take over the lead with a 6-0 run. Pearson (Toronto) ended the scoreless streak by hitting a long jumper with 30 seconds left, but Traer (Chelsea, Que.) ended the quarter with a quick lay-up to give Carleton a 12-11 lead. 

Hazlett started the second with a reverse lay-up, but the Ravens responded with an 8-0 streak to take a 20-13 lead. OUA second-team all-star Elizabeth Leblanc (London, Ont.) drained a three, while Lindsay (Ottawa) made her presence felt in the post, picking up five points in that span as well, which prompted a timeout from Gaels coach Dave Wilson. Carleton would score six more coming out of the break, pushing the lead to as many as 13 points while the Gaels offense continued to struggle with the Ravens' size and length. 

Alarie (Sudbury, Ont.) finally ended a seven and a half minute stretch where the women didn't hit a field goal. The Ravens could not take advantage, however, going scoreless in the final 4:30 of the second, and Alarie's drive and lay-up sparked the Gaels on an 8-0 run to end the half. This included a late steal and lay-up from Bridget Mulholland (Kingston), bringing the Carleton lead down to just five heading into the locker rooms. 

Lindsay led all players with eight points, while Hazlett and Pearson each tallied seven for the Gaels. 

The hosts seemed to pick up where they left off in the early moments of the third quarter, as Alarie and Hazlett each picked up a pair of points to bring the deficit down to one. The Ravens responded with 10-straight points throughout the middle portion of the period, capped off by a three from Jenjen Abella (Hamilton, Ont.) to push the lead back up to double digits. Second-team conference all-star Andrea Priamo (Guelph, Ont.) managed to get a couple of points back in another low-scoring quarter, which ended with the Ravens up 36-28. 

After Carleton extended the lead to 12 at the 6:42 mark of the final quarter, the Gaels put together a 7-0 streak over the next four minutes to pull within five. Alarie's three-point basket at the 2-minute mark which made the score 43-38 got the capacity crowd back onto its feet. The Gaels ultimately couldn't overcome the Carleton defense, however, missing their next four shots before Lindsay put the game out of reach by hitting a mid-range jumper with 22 seconds left in the contest.

The Ravens and Gaels will both travel west next week for the Arcelormittal Defaco USports Final 8 national championship, taking place at the University of Victoria from March 9-12.


Thorne, Martlets savouring sixth straight Quebec title

For McGill Martlet head coach Ryan Thorne, the sixth consecutive RSEQ women’s basketball championship was the most memorable of the them all.

“This is the sweetest,” he said after defeating the Concordia Stingers 63-51 in the title game this afternoon at the Pierre Charbonneau Centre. “I heard a lot of talk this year about us not being the same team, that we were not that good. I thought there were a lot of disrespectful comments.”

The Martlets silenced their detractors with a high-energy performance that earned them a berth in the U SPORTS Women’s Basketball Final 8 in Victoria, B.C. March 9-12.

McGill battled injuries through most of the season and ended up in second place in the RSEQ with a 9-7 win-loss record. But Thorne says they went into the playoffs healthy. It showed.

The Martlets came out and took an 11-0 lead before Concordia woke up and started fighting back.

“McGill was the team with the energy, the effort and the intensity,” said Concordia head coach Tenicha Gittens after the game. “They dictated the pace. Their energy was through the roof.”

The Martlets were up 11-5 after the first quarter and 26-18 at halftime. The Stingers held the lead,12-11, very briefly in the second quarter, but spent the rest of the game trying to catch up.

“If we were going to win, we had to fight for 40 minutes and we didn’t,” said Gittens.

Concordia’s Richelle Gregoire played 37 minutes and led her team with 21 points and seven rebounds She was named the Stingers’ player of the game.

McGill’s stats were more spread out. Alex Kiss-Rusk had 18 points and seven rebounds. Marie-Love Michel had 10 points and an amazing 15 rebounds. The player of the game honours went to Gladys Hakizimana who was good for 13 points and five rebounds.

Two Quebec teams have won seven consecutive conference championships: the Bishop’s Gaiters (1977-78 through 1983-84) and the Laval Rouge et Or (2004-05 to 2010-11). With a sixth straight title, McGill is knocking on the door.



Capers claim 2017 AUS women’s basketball title with 79-61 win over Acadia

(HALIFAX, N.S.) – The Acadia Axewomen and the Cape Breton Capers faced off in the Subway AUS Women's Basketball Championship final Sunday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, N.S.

The Capers earned a 79-61 win to earn the 2017 conference title—their first since 2011.

Cape Breton's Valentina Primossi (Trieste, Italy) posted 19 points, three rebounds and one assist in the victory.

The Axewomen got off to an early lead to start the game, holding a 6-2 lead through the first three minutes of play.

The Capers began to play catchup, and a three-pointer from Natasha Roach(Roxboro, Que.) gave Cape Breton their first lead of the game.

The Capers then took off throughout the remainder of the quarter and held a 19-11 edge heading into the second.

Acadia began to turn things around in the second frame, as a buzzer-beater three-pointer from Sylvia Sweeney Award Nominee Katie Ross (Bedford, N.S.) put the Axewomen within two at the halfway mark.

The third quarter saw back-and-forth action from both ends of the court, with each squad going basket for basket and the score sitting tied at 52-52 heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation.

With back-and-forth play continuing throughout the opening of the fourth quarter, a three-pointer from Primossi allowed Cape Breton to take the lead. Cape Breton began to pull away to a 68-59 lead with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

The Axewomen were unable to catch the Capers lead throughout the final minute of play, allowing Cape Breton to earn the 79-61 victory to claim the 2017 AUS women's basketball title.

The Subway Player of the Game was awarded to Acadia's Marika Vanden Elzen (Mount Brydges, Ont.), while Primossi earned the honour for the Cape Breton. Vanden Elzen recorded 16 points and six rebounds.

Jalynn Skeir (Halifax, N.S.) earned the Wilson's Security Defensive Player of the Game for the Capers, while Alexandra Berry (Yarmouth, N.S.) earned the honour for the Axewomen. Skeir recorded six points, one rebound and three assists, while Berry posted 10 points, adding four rebounds and two assists.

AUS second team all-star Colleen Keane (Scarborough, Ont.) was named the championship MVP. Keane recorded 10 points and four assists in Sunday's win.

Keane and  AUS MVP Alison Keough (Marion Bridge, N.S.) were both named to the tournament all-star team, along with Acadia's Paloma Anderson (Phoenix, Arizona) and Chanel Smith (Halifax, N.S.), and Saint Mary's Angelina Carvery (Halifax, N.S.).

The Capers now advance to the U Sports Women's Basketball Final 8 being hosted by the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C.


Canada West 

Huskies defend Canada West Women's Basketball title

Daniel Herrick, University of Saskatchewan (With files from Cougar Athletics)

SASKATOON – For the second straight year, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies were crowned Canada West champions on their home court.

Saskatchewan defeated the University of Regina Cougars 64-53 Saturday night on Ron and Jane Graham Court at the PAC to earn their fifth ever conference title in a rematch of the 2016 championship game. 

Sabine Dukate was a force playing in her second Canada West final. The second-year Huskie guard scored a game-high 25 points and played all forty minutes for the second straight game. Dukate was 5-for-12 from three point range. First-year Summer Masikewich added another 14 points and eight rebounds, while fellow first-year Libby Epoch dished out seven assists.

"I can't believe the growth of all of the individual players this season," said head coach Lisa Thomaidis. "The rookies transformed into veterans in the course of six months and the veterans have all taken on new roles and I am just so proud of their tremendous growth and maturity. To repeat as champions is unfathomable."

Kyanna Giles led the Cougars with 14 points in the loss while also grabbing another eight boards. Sara Hubenig added another 11 points and seven rebounds for Regina. 

The first quarter was marred by a dearth of offence, as Saskatchewan led 11-8 after the opening 10 minutes. The pace picked up considerably in the second quarter, starting with a 12-2 run by the Cougars that started with a three by Hubenig and finished with a triple from well beyond the arc by Britton Belyk. That put the Cougars up 20-16 midway through the period, but Saskatchewan finished the second on a 13-4 run as the Huskies took a 29-24 advantage into the halftime break. Dukate scored a total of six points in consecutive possessions for Saskatchewan during that run, hitting a triple and then hitting three free throws the next time down the floor. 

Saskatchewan took over in the third quarter, as the Huskies went on a 14-2 run over the final seven and a half minutes of the period to go up 45-32 heading into the fourth. Regina showed some life in the fourth quarter after employing an effective press that forced a pair of turnovers and helped the Cougars go on an 8-0 run to get to within six. The U of R went on another 8-2 run late in the game to again get to within six, but could draw no closer and the Huskies iced the game with several late free throws.

"Second half we knuckled down on the defensive end and made it tough," added Thomaidis. "I think we got some confidence from our great defence."

Both teams had similar numbers, with Saskatchewan shooting 30% from the field compared to Regina's 27%. The Huskies had a 41-32 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over 18 times compared to just 12 for the Cougars. The biggest difference was at the free throw line, where Saskatchewan was 25-for-33 as a team and the U of R was 14-for-19. 

Seeding and quarterfinal matchups for next weekend's U SPORTS tournament will be announced on Sunday.