Sydney, NS – Carleton University’s women’s basketball team celebrated their second U SPORTS national championship after defeating Queen’s University 71-59 at the Sullivan Field House.
Carleton outscored Queens by 15 points in third quarter to take command of the gold medal game. After only 26 first half points, the Ravens poured in 55 second half points to fly off with the victory and national championship.
Kali Pocrnic received tournament MVP honours, leading the Ravens with a team-high 20 points and eight assists. Teresa Donato, Dorcas Buisa, and Emma Kieskekamp all scored in double-figures to help the Ravens win their first national championship since 2018.
Queens took control of the game early, getting their first lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter and leading 31-26 going into halftime. Once again, the Gaels used a 15 point advantage to jump ahead of their opponent.
Queens also executed their defensive game-plan early, keeping All-Canadian Kali Pocrnic to just seven points and three turnovers in the first half.
But Pocrnic and the Ravens came out with a defensive determination, and Pocrnic used a hesitation dribble to attack the rim and tie the game at 32 only two minutes into the second half.
The pace slowed after that, with both teams scoring only four points in the next five minutes. Neither side was willing to give an edge and once the intensity of a national championship game was evident, Carleton’s experience started to shine through.
OUA all-star Laura Donovan was the offensive pulse once for the Gaels, accounting for 23 points on 44 per cent shooting. Unfortunately for Queens, the rest of the team shot only 24 per cent. Donovan managed to hit 11 three-pointers combined in the semi-finals and finals.
The Gaels did make one late push in the fourth quarter, cutting Carleton’s lead to just five points, 57-52, with two minutes left. But the Ravens had a sharp answer, scoring the next five points to outlast the Gaels for good.
Besides three losses to the Ravens, Queens finished their season undefeated and with the best record in program history; something OUA Coach of the Year Claire Meadows can build on for next season.
The Ravens win their first national championship with Dani Sinclair at the reigns and will only lose one fifth-year player when they attempt to repeat as champions in the 2023-24 season.