The Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team returned to top form Nov. 25-26 as they edged past the University of Guelph Gryphons before thumping the Lakehead Thunderwolves the following night.
Despite some poor defence and a lack of drive, the Ravens came out with a 81-71 win over the Gryphons Nov. 25 in Guelph, Ont.
“We did score a lot of points but we weren’t focused on defence and we gave up way too many points,” said Ravens head coach Taffe Charles.
The team lost the lead three times in the first quarter and went into the second down 15-14.
“We didn’t shut down or battle as hard as we normally do,” said fourth-year guard Alyson Bush. “Ultimately, people were doing whatever they wanted.”
The Ravens stepped up their game in the second quarter and started attacking the basket, helping them grab a six-point, 34-28 lead going into halftime.
Despite a defensive breakdown in the third quarter which led to a charge from the Gryphons, the Ravens snuck into the final quarter with a 58-55 lead.
Hungry for the win, fifth-year forward Ashley Cleary stepped up for the Ravens and scored a third of the Ravens’ points in the fourth. Jessica Resch led all scorers with 24 points.
“[Resch] proved she’s capable, now we just need to see the consistency,” Charles said.
The following night’s matchup against the Thunderwolves wasn’t nearly as tight, as the Ravens beat their opponents 65-39.
Despite a close first half that saw the two teams exchanging points, the women went into the break ahead of the Thunderwolves 34-22.
In the third, the Ravens exploded offensively, draining 21 points while Lakehead answered with just five.
“We shut down their best player and made our shots,” said Kendall MacLeod, who led the Ravens’ offensive stampede.
MacLeod and second-year guard Krista Van Slingerland ended with a game-high 13 points en route to a 26-point win.
“[The game against Guelph] wasn’t our best performance but we built on that in [the next day’s] game and really focused on defence,” Bush said.
The Ravens forced 24 turnovers and converted them into 21 points.
Their record now sits at 4-2, and the team is currently ranked fourth nationally. Charles said there’s a lot of competitiveness in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) this year.
“There isn’t a huge gap between the top 20 teams anymore,” he said. “They may do some things differently but teams now aren’t that much better than other teams.”
While it’s still early in the season, there are some serious national contenders in the OUA, including the University of Windsor Lancers and the Brock Badgers. Windsor is currently ranked third nationally.
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees are also proving their talent this season, matching Carleton’s record of 4-2.
“This year, there are a lot of good teams and a lot of good recruits coming in,” Bush said. “It’s really whoever comes to play that day will win the game.”
The league is also host to some of the most talented players in Canada, including Bush, Ottawa’s Hannah Sunley-Paisley, and Windsor’s 6’3” forward and last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s basketball player of the year, Jessica Clemencon.
“Everyone wants it this year, everyone is fighting for it,” MacLeod said.