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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.