McGill Stuns #1 Ranked Carleton, Advances to Women’s Basketball Championship

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McGill guard Marika Guerin (8) sprints past Carleton's Nicole Gilmour (13) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

by David Conlin, Vikes Media
Photos by Christian J. Stewart, Independent Sports News

March 11, 2017, VICTORIA, BC (U SPORTS) – The No. 4 McGill Martlets survived a late push from the No. 1 seeded Carleton Ravens to emerge with a 66-60 win in semi-final action at the U SPORTS women’s Final 8 at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria on Saturday, setting up the first all-RSEQ final in U SPORTS women’s basketball history.

McGill's Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) would lead all scorers Saturday with a 24-point night to lead the Martlets to the win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
McGill’s Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) would lead all scorers Saturday with a 24-point night to lead the Martlets to the win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The semifinal was the second of the day, after the Laval Rouge et Or beat the Queen’s Gaels 78-67 earlier to advance to the final. Laval and McGill will be the first two RSEQ teams to meet in the final since the first U SPORTS national championship was played in 1972.

McGill's Jennifer Silva (14) leans in for two of her eight points against Carleton on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
McGill’s Jennifer Silver (14) leans in for two of her eight points against Carleton on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton's Nicole Gilmore (13) looks to drive past McGill's Geraldine Cabillo-Ab during Saturday's action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’s Nicole Gilmore (13) looks to drive past McGill’s Geraldine Cabillo-Ab during Saturday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“I think that’s great. When you’re starting out that’s not what you’re looking for; you’re looking for an opportunity to extend your season,” said McGill head coach Ryan Thorne when asked about the historical significance of Sunday’s matchup.  “The significance of it being an all-Quebec final, it just speaks to the strength of our conference and I think that’s great as well.”

In the battle of the post, McGill's Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) carried the upper hand over Carleton's Heather Lindsay (22), outscoring her 24-13 and out-rebounding her 13-5 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In the battle of the post, McGill’s Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) carried the upper hand over Carleton’s Heather Lindsay (22), outscoring her 24-13 and out-rebounding her 13-5 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton's Catherine Traer (11), looks for a way to the hoop Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’s Catherine Traer (11), looks for a way to the hoop Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Carleton and McGill went right down to the wire on Saturday night, with the Ravens drawing within  two points in the final minute of the fourth quarter. But late free throws from Frederique Potvin helped seal the deal for the underdog Martlets.

MCGill's Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) puts up a jumper over Carleton's Heather Lindsay (22). Kiss-Rusk would finish with 24 points to lead the Martlets (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
MCGill’s Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) puts up a jumper over Carleton’s Heather Lindsay (22). Kiss-Rusk would finish with 24 points to lead the Martlets (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton'sPlayer of the Game Jenjen Abella (4) sneaks through the McGill defence of Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) and arika Guerin (8) on her way to two of her 13 points Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’sPlayer of the Game Jenjen Abella (4) sneaks through the McGill defence of Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) and arika Guerin (8) on her way to two of her 13 points Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“Carleton was able to shut us down in certain areas but then we were able to do the same to them,” said Thorne. “Everyone just made sure that they didn’t get good clean looks and I think that was important and sealed the deal for us.”

Carleton's Cynthia Dupont (14) tries to work her way past McGill's Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’s Cynthia Dupont (14) tries to work her way past McGill’s Alex Kiss-Rusk (21) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Fourth-year centre Alex Kiss-Rusk led the way for the Martlets with a double-double, dropping 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to go with two blocks and a steal. She was named McGill’s Player of the Game for the second time in the tournament.

McGill guard Marika Guerin (8) avoids pressure from Carleton's Jenjen Abella (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
McGill guard Marika Guerin (8) avoids pressure from Carleton’s Jenjen Abella (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“She gives us great strength inside,” Thorne said of his 6-foot-4 veteran. “She is unselfish so when she sees and opportunity she will take it but if she sees a teammate open she gives it to them.”

McGill's Gladys Hakizimana (5) drives into the paint under guard by Carleton's Jenjen Abella (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
McGill’s Gladys Hakizimana (5) drives into the paint under guard by Carleton’s Jenjen Abella (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Potvin also had a strong game for McGill, dropping 16 points to go with four rebounds. Jennifer Silver and Marie-Love Michel each had strong games on the boards, picking up six and five rebounds, respectively.

Carleton's Elizabeth Leblanc (21) heads to the hoop for a scoring opportunity on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’s Elizabeth Leblanc (21) heads to the hoop for a scoring opportunity on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For the Ravens, fourth-year forward Catherine Traer led the way with 16 points, followed by teammates Jenjen Abella and Heather Lindsay with 13 apiece. Abella tied Lindsay and Nicole Gilmore for a team-high five rebounds, earning the title of Carleton Player of the Game.

Carleton's Catherine Traer (11), who would lead her team with 16 points, looks for a way to the hoop past the defence of McGill's Frederique Potvin (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’s Catherine Traer (11), who would lead her team with 16 points, looks for a way to the hoop past the defence of McGill’s Frederique Potvin (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

McGill out-rebounded the Ravens 41-32 while forcing 12 turnovers. Post-game, Carleton head coach Taffe Charles credited McGill for limiting his team to 36.7 per cent shooting from the field.

Carleton's Jenjen Abella (right) leans in against McGill's Marika Guerin (left) as she drives to the hoop late in Saturday's game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Carleton’s Jenjen Abella (right) leans in against McGill’s Marika Guerin (left) as she drives to the hoop late in Saturday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“They did a decent job of taking us out of what we wanted to do,” said Charles. “They knew that if they let us catch the ball that they would have a tough time covering people. We had free-throws we didn’t make and at this level you have to make those and we just didn’t.  It’s a tough lesson to learn at this time of year.”

A frustrated Carleton Head Coach Taffe Charles pleads his case to one of the officials late in Saturday's game against McGill (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
A frustrated Carleton Head Coach Taffe Charles pleads his case to one of the officials late in Saturday’s game against McGill (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Strong defence from McGill's Geraldine Cabillo-Ab (11) and Frederique Potvin (4) made life difficult for Carleton's Catherine Traer (centre) on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Strong defence from McGill’s Geraldine Cabillo-Ab (11) and Frederique Potvin (4) made life difficult for Carleton’s Catherine Traer (centre) on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Ravens will get a chance to end their tournament on a high note when they take to the court against the Queen’s Gaels with a chance to win bronze. That game starts at 10:00 a.m. PT and can be watched live on USPORTS.LIVE.

McGill and Laval will face off for the Bronze Baby championship trophy at 1:00 p.m. with Sportsnet cameras rolling. Catch the gold medal game on Sportsnet 360 or Sportsnet Now.

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