Ottawa, ON – It will likely not be a performance they will look back on too fondly, but they got the win as the Carleton Ravens opened their 2022-2023 season with an uneven 69-57 victory over the York Lions at the Ravens Nest on Friday night.
The Lions entered the Raven’s Nest on the front half of their back-to-back. They play in Carleton before heading to Montpetit Hall for a matchup with the uOttawa Gee-Gees on Saturday night. In contrast, the McMaster Marauders, who were at uOttawa, head to Carleton.
The first quarter saw both sides locked even at 21-21, with the Ravens getting 12 points from third-year Dorcas Buisa.
Guard Kali Pocrnic struggled, going 1-5 from the field in the quarter as Carleton could not hit from deep early, while also struggling to convert in the paint,
“We’ve got to be a little bit better in our spacing and especially making better passes when we get into the paint and getting multiple attacks,” Ravens head coach Dani Sinclair said.
Into the second quarter, the York offence fell silent. The Lions missed their first 16 consecutive shots en route to a 2-20 quarter as Carleton outscored them 17-6 and took a 38-27 lead into halftime.
Despite a middling first half that saw her shoot 4-9 for eight points, Kali Pocrnic lit up in the third quarter. The junior guard outscored the 14 total points for the Lions as she dropped 16 points herself on 7-8 shooting and a pair of three-pointers.
“I try not to be too complimentary of her because I don’t want her to relax,” Sinclair said, chuckling post-game.
As the fourth quarter rolled around, turnovers kept piling up for the Ravens, and the lead started to dwindle. “Twice we had the game in hand in some respects and just threw the ball away, made poor decisions, allowed them to speed us up unnecessarily, and then that’s when [Lauren] Golding was able to turn it on,” Sinclair said.
The Lions’ Lauren Golding had five points in the quarter and six rebounds (including three offensive boards) as part of 15 points on the night for York. She and the Lions cut a lead that was 62-41 at the start of the quarter down to 68-57 with a minute to play.
Ruqaya Green and Lauren Golding each missed three-point shots, though, and the Ravens closed out the 69-57 win. Despite the win, Sinclair knows that 29 turnovers are something the side will need to improve on.
“It’s one thing if the other team is really putting the pressure on and causing those types of mistakes, but I feel genuine we just shoot ourselves in the foot,” Sinclair said. “We need some more composure when teams are obviously making a push, like at the start of quarters or after a timeout; we have to be composed and understand the moment and punch first.”