Carleton: Alyson Bush Ottawa U: Jenna Gilbert
Pts: 13, Reb: 9, Ast: 1, Stl: 3, Min: 37 Pts: 17, Reb: 7, Ast: 1, Blk: 3, Min: 37
Ottawa,ON— Carleton’s women’s team entered this contest looking forward to the playoffs as the fourth ranked team overall in the CIS. The Ottawa University GeeGees in comparison are still in the OUA East playoff hunt and enter the game 9-5 in league play. With grit, determination and a bit of luck the Ravens avoid the upset and eventually persevere after two periods of overtime. With the 71-63 win, the Ravens record is now 13-2.
Early in the game Carleton took the lead with good passing and controlled defense. Ottawa U senior forward Hannah Sunley-Paisley, the lone fourth year senior on the squad, fell into early foul trouble on some tough calls early in the game, and her frontcourt mate Jenna Gilbert was playing through an injury. Carleton took advantage at this juncture, with Kendall MacLeod running the floor and Ashleigh Cleary playing well in the paint.
Ottawa began to play tighter defense in the second quarter, but Carleton was often still able to grab loose balls and rebounds inside the painted area. When both Hannah and Jenna were on the floor this dynamic shifted, but for the majority of the game they were forced to take alternating shifts. Both teams challenged each other’s pressure defense and often Ottawa U was able to take better care of the basketball, but it was their three-point shooting at the end of the first half that kept the score close. Three-pointers from Tatianna Hanlan, Sarah Nolette, and Laura-Emilie Cyr of the GeeGees brought the half-time defecit to two points 39-37.
Carleton starts the second half with defensive intensity forcing a five-second inbound violation and a shot-clock violation and Kendall MacLeod made a spectacular block to end the Ottawa U run and preserve a three-point lead. With steals and fast breaks Carleton looked in control before Sarah Nolette connected on back-to-back three-pointers to put Ottawa ahead 50-48. After Alyson Bush scored on both of two free throws, there was an exciting finish to regulation.
Tied at 50 with a minute and a half remaining, Carleton misses all four of their free-throws and barely hangs on to force overtime. The atmosphere did not resemble a midseason game, rather “a playoff game out there where nobody could lose, it was do or die,” an experience Carleton coach Taffe Charles believes will come in handy when the actual playoffs begin. Ashleigh Cleary believes the arena atmosphere was somewhat “rattling, with fans taunting, but sometimes it’s like that” even though Carleton’s loud fans made it seem “like a home game, to be honest.”
In overtime, Carleton starts strong with an 8-0 run before Nolette hits another three-pointer. Then post-player Jenna Gilbert nails back-to-back three-pointers, the second one off glass. After a 9-1 run the GeeGees have a chance to win it with a shot from Laura-Emilie Cyr which falls short and sends the game to another overtime period.
In the second overtime, Ashleigh Cleary and Alyson Bush provide Carleton with the spark to win. Ashleigh Cleary had fourpoints and contributed to Carleton’s teamwide “resiliency, there was a few times we could have given up” she says “but we kept on pushing and came out with the win.” Alyson Bush had five points in the second overtime, and also contributed with free throws and a crucial steal. The overtime hero was Kendall MacLeod who scored ten of her 13 points after regulation time had ended.
Carleton forward Darcy Hawkins played 21 minutes and believes the win was a product of her team “putting our minds together and playing with heart, that’s what our coach wanted and we really gave it to him.” Carleton coach Taffe Charles believed his team showed “determination, there was lots of times when we could have let down and we just had to refocus and built the lead up again.”