The University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team was unable to hand the Carleton their first loss of the season, which allowed the Ravens to win their first ever Bronze Baby trophy in Regina Sunday.
It was a tough road to the USPORTS Final 8 title game for the Huskies, who had to knock off the number three-ranked Acadia Axewomen and second-ranked University of Regina Cougars to punch their ticket to the big game.
The Huskies would start the game on the right foot, getting the lead early.
The Ravens, who came into the tournament as the top team in the country, ran into foul problems early, with four team fouls in the opening few minutes. The Huskies were able to capitalize and opened up an 8-2 lead early.
A Megan Lindquist free throw gave the Huskies their largest lead of the quarter at 13-6.
The Ravens fought back but a layup by Summer Masikewich put the Huskies back up by six as the first quarter ended. Masikewich led all players with seven points in the opening quarter.
Carleton would continue to knock at the door and would get the game tied at 19 in the second quarter. Carleton’s Catherine Traer hit a three-pointer to give Carleton the 22-19 lead and would follow it with a layup to extend the lead to five points with 2:10 remaining.
The Huskies would regain the lead before halftime with Masikewich draining two free throws with 56.2 seconds left.
While the three-point shot was key into the Huskies making it to the big game, the sharpshooters were nowhere to be found in the first half. The team would shoot 0-7 from beyond the arc. Sabine Dukate, who hit five three-point shots in the semifinal game against the University of Regina Cougars, was held without a point in the opening half.
Despite the team’s lack of scoring from three-point range, the Huskies would take a 25-24 lead into half-time.
Traer gave Carleton the lead to open the third but Dukate found her range, draining her first three-pointer, and first basket overall, which brought the crowd back to life.
But Carleton answered, with two shots from three-point range from Nicole Gilmour, to give them a 32-28 leads with 7:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Mid-way through the third, the Ravens would begin to pull away 41-32, with the nine-point lead being the largest in the game to that point.
Later in the quarter, Traer would hit another three-pointer, giving the Ravens a 46-34 lead.
Traer finished the game with 21 points.
The Ravens opened the final frame with a 48-39 lead and wouldn’t look back. The Ravens opened the final quarter on a 12-1 run, pushing the lead to 20 points with 7:34 remaining in the game.
From then on, the Ravens would cruise their way to the title with a 69-48 victory.
“It feels awesome, a lot of hard work has been put in by a lot of women throughout the years, just the dedication it requires, I’m just so proud of them,” Ravens head coach Taffe Charles said following the win.
Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis said the previous game against the Cougars took a lot out of the team and they couldn’t keep up with the Raven’s defensive intensity.
“We just didn’t have it tonight and they had a lot to do with that.”
Thomaidis said the Ravens showed a maturity to their game that comes with them having a lot of fifth-year players.
Masikewich was the Huskies leading scorer for the game with 19 points and praised the Ravens for their defensive play.
She said the team was still happy about what they accomplished.
“I’m super proud that we made it to this position, I don’t think anyone had us here and I think we all knew in our heart that we could do this.”
Both Thomaidis and Masikewich said they believe they will be back in the title game because of the youth of their team.
“We’re excited about what the future holds,” Thomaidis said. “We weren’t planning on this happening this early and so we’re ahead of schedule and this is a great measuring stick for us.”
Unfortunately, the University basketball career does come to an end for some of the players, including Lindquist.
“Obviously I wish it could’ve been different but still at the end of the day, I’m so proud of not only of what we’ve done this year but all of a sudden five years has gone by and it’s been a crazy ride and I’m just so thankful to have been a part of this program and just everything that comes along with it,” a tearful Lindquist said
Cougars win bronze
While it wasn’t the medal they hoped to win, the Cougars did win the bronze medal earlier in the day, defeating McGill 66-63.
Fifth-year player Charlotte Kot led the way with a career game, scoring 30 points for the team.
Kot is the first Cougar since Lindsay Ledingham in 2011 to reach the mark.
“I think that my teammates did a really good job of making the best out of a bad situation and making sure that we finished with a good feeling.”
Kyanna Giles also hit double digits for the Cougars with 10 points, while Sara Hubenig had nine and Christina McCusker added seven.
Head coach Dave Taylor said the result was disappointing because of the loft goals they had set at the start of the year.
“(It) says a lot about our program where we’re at.”
Taylor said he and the U of S seem to have bright futures ahead of them and could be battling it out for the foreseeable future.