The University of Ottawa Women’s Basketball team took to the court on the biggest stage in front of thousands at the Canadian Tire Centre for the annual Capital Hoops game. The pristine hardwood and the bright lights got in the heads of the young Gee-Gees early on, but they showed a great deal of resiliency, playing a tight game for the following three quarters.
The first quarter showed why the number one nationally ranked Carleton Ravens are the best team in the country, dominating the Gees in every facet. However, the Gees responded and made it a tighter game as the game wore on, but they could not control the ball movement and the many offensive weapons shown by the Ravens.
Carleton came out firing, scoring the first nine points of the game, forcing Gee-Gees coach Andy Sparks to take a timeout. Amélie Hachey came back with a three-pointer to put the Gees on the board right after the stoppage. After two free-throws from Brigitte Lefebvre-Okanku, Carleton came back with a three-pointer to go up 14-5 with 4:51 to play.
Aliissa Heiskanen and Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus scored the Gees’ seventh and ninth points of the quarter, proving how hard points were to come by for the Garnet and Grey. Carleton wouldn’t go away and responded immediately with a three-pointer.
The Gee-Gees struggled all quarter on both ends of the ball; from rebounding to three-point shooting to turnovers, they looked like they were constantly a step behind. The Garnet and Grey trailed 24-9 at the end of a tough quarter.
Hachey talked about the defensive strength of the Ravens. “Carleton has a really good defence, so it is hard for young players to find the holes or the open plays (in their defence).”
The Gees went to Angela Ribarich early in the second quarter and found success as she scored the first four points of the quarter, all in the post. Defensively, the Gees were much better in the first four minutes of the quarter, denying the Ravens of any baskets.
Hachey hit a three to drop the Ravens’ lead to single digit, 24-15 with 5:32 to play. Hachey kept the Gees in the game with her eighth point of the night, coming from behind the arc. Lefebvre-Okankwu had a steal and a basket at the end of the half, but the Ravens responded with a three, Carleton had a 34-24 lead at recess.
Hachey continued to be the offensive weapon for the Gees as she scored another three-pointer to go along with a layup inside, reducing the deficit to 39-31 with four minutes left in the third quarter. The Gees continued to trail at the end of three quarters, 43-32.
A great old fashion three-point play 2:12 into the fourth quarter by Hachey brought the game back to a 10-point affair. A Heiskanen jumper put the Gees right back in it 45-37, but the Ravens responded with a three on the next possession. That would be as close as the Gees would get. Back to back threes stretched Carleton’s lead to 56-41 with two minutes remaining.
The offensive ball movement was hard to match for the Garnet and Grey as Carleton looked in sync, especially in the first quarter, stretching the floor from points in the paint to shots behind the arc.
Coach Andy Sparks explained why Carleton is so successful offensively. “If they’re hot, they are really tough, I think defensively the fact that we could guard their post one on one was a positive for us,” said Sparks. “The threes they took, we closed out short on them, and we should have really closed out fully on them.”
Hachey led the way with 16 points for the Gees who lacked scoring from other players. Coach Sparks talked about Hachey’s performance saying, “(Hachey) hit some shots for us, somebody had to score and she took it upon herself a little bit to get some shots off, that was positive.”
The University of Ottawa Men’s Basketball team took to the court at the Canadian Tire Centre looking to avenge past losses to the Carleton Ravens on hardwood at the home of the Ottawa Senators. The final score did not do justice to this highly contested, back and forth entertaining game. Both teams made shots, and both rosters had players step up on the big stage.
Brandon Robinson opened the scoring for the Gee-Gees with a great pull-up jumper on their first possession. The Ravens showed a tight press to start the game and that proved to wear down the Gees over the course of the game.
Sean Stoqua hit a three to give the Gees a 5-4 lead with 6:30 left to play. Robinson responded with a three of his own, and it was a close game early on. The Gees and the Ravens exchanged threes and it was 11-9 with three minutes to play. Kenny Jean-Louis decided to join the three-point barrage for the fifth Garnet and Grey trifecta, giving them a 17-12 lead. After one quarter, the Gees had a 18-12 lead from 5-7 shooting from deep.
Carleton came out with the first six points of the second quarter to tie up the game, and that took away the Garnet and Grey momentum. Stoqua opened the scoring for the Gee-Gees with a fade away just outside the paint to give the Gees a slight 20-18 lead with 7:02 to play.
A three-pointer in transition off a Gee-Gees turnover gave the Ravens a slight 26-25 lead with 3:13 still to be played. Calvin Epistola took a hard hit with 21.2 left, but finished and completed the three-point play. At the end of two quarters the Ravens had a 35-30 lead with a shot that fell at the buzzer.
Carleton went on a 7-2 run to start the quarter and took a 42-32 lead with six minutes to play. Robinson continued to play big for the Gees, with his 15th point to cut into the Ravens’ lead to make it 42-37. He touched on his game offensively saying, “I was just trying to make plays for my team, it’s mine and a couple of other guys’ responsibilities to do that, I try to take advantage of the opportunities that I have.”
Both teams kept going back and forth, Pierre-Charles came close to making a highlight reel put back, but he was fouled in the process and converted both free-throws. A three-pointer by Gage Sabean gave the Gees a 48-47 lead with 1:34 to play.
However, at the end of three quarters, and despite a great effort by the Gees, they were trailing 51-48. Robinson explained why Carleton is so good down the stretch and how they are always in games. “They have a lot of mental toughness, their coach is really hard on them so when they get in these situations, it’s not anything that they haven’t been through before.”
Both teams kept going head to head, and two and a half minutes in the Ravens were up 58-53, and coach James Derouin had been awarded a questionable technical. Carleton stretched their lead off a close layup to make it a nine-point game 62-53.
Coach James Derouin talked about that full court press and how it impacted the result. “They wore us down with their full-court pressure and at a critical stage that’s what pressure does, and for a critical two-minute stage, we lost it.”
A three-pointer at 4:30 was a tough pill to swallow for the Gees as Carleton took a 65-53 lead and basically determined the end result. The Gees suffered a 67-56 loss at the hands of the Ravens. Carleton kept their perfect record, and if that wasn’t already enough, they sure cemented why they are the best team in the country.