Photo by Alex D'Addese

Past two Critelli Cup champs to clash in Ottawa

By Adam Jenkins

OTTAWA — The previous two Critelli Cup champions are set to face off in the OUA quarter-final Saturday evening in the nation’s capital.

The undefeated Carleton Ravens are welcoming the Rams to the Ravens' Nest, with a spot in the OUA semifinal on the line.

Win and move on. Lose and your season is over.

The Ravens are the only team in Canada to finish the regular season undefeated. Their reign over the conference is not limited to the 2017-18 campaign. Carleton has not lost an OUA game since their stunning defeat to the Algoma Thunderbirds in last season’s opening game; the win was Algoma’s only victory all season. The only contest they have dropped since then, was the national semifinal, losing to the eventual champion McGill Martlets.

This is not to suggest that Carleton is unbeatable, but dethroning the champs will require a complete team effort.

In their two previous meetings this season, the Rams showed that they are a team not to be taken lightly.

In their first game of the 2018 calendar year, a strong first quarter from Carleton propelled them to the victory, despite Ryerson’s late push. The lead exchanged hands eight times, and neither team shot particularly well, despite the two clubs finishing the regular season with the conference’s top two point-per-game averages. Ryerson’s Achilles heel on the night was the fact that they turned the ball over 17 times and got out-rebounded 45-36. In their second and final regular-season meeting, the Rams were dispatched 55-43 on Coca-Cola Court.

In each of their losses, the Rams were held significantly below their season average for points per game.

"We have known this but it has been proven on court that Carleton is the best defensive team in the country; they are hard to score points against," said Rams head coach Carly Clarke. "They also have a variety of offensive weapons and move and share the ball as a team. Their length and versatility presents lots of challenges at both ends."

The loss was the beginning of a lacklustre second half of the season for Ryerson, which saw them win just two of eight games leading up to their final stretch. In those final three games, the Rams picked up a massive road victory in Kingston against the Queen’s Gaels, before finishing the year off with two comfortable wins against Nipissing and Laurentian.

They followed up on a strong end to the regular season with a dominant defence of Coca-Cola Court against their cross-town rival York Lions, who had also swept the season series against Ryerson.

"We will have to be solid defensively and find a way to score enough points to win," Clarke added when asked what it would take to come away with the victory. "That will mean limiting our turnovers, and limiting their second-chance opportunities on offensive rebounds."

The winner of the quarter-final will move onto the OUA semifinal round, where the two divisions will cross over under the new playoff format. Additionally, the Final Four tournament concept has been removed, so there is no single-site weekend of basketball to determine the conference champion. What hasn't changed is the automatic berths for finalists. Teams that lose their semifinal will play in the Bronze Medal Game, and will be looking to situate themselves as well as possible for the at-large berth at Nationals.

Ryerson will hope to bring that playoff momentum with them to the Ravens' Nest, where the two clubs with face off in the postseason for the first time in program history.


54.7 – The shooting percentage of Heather Lindsay, Carleton’s starting centre. That clip tops the OUA and is fourth in Canada. Her matchup with Sofia Paska will definitely be one to keep an eye on.

44-1 – Carleton's record in conference and nationals play since their loss to the Algoma Thunderbirds on November 18, 2016.

35-36 – Ryerson's head-to-head record with Carleton dating back to the 1981-82 season.

20.3 – Sofia Paska's points-per-game average, which leads the OUA and is good for third in the nation.

16.6 – The number of assists per game the Ravens are averaging, the best rate in the OUA.

0.3 – The margin that Ryerson (44.9) leads Carleton (44.6) by in rebounds per game. The only team with a better average is the Acadia Axewomen (47.1).


The OUA quarter-final will tip-off at 6:00 pm on Saturday. You can watch the webcast live on For the latest news, updates, and recaps be sure to follow up on Twitter @ryersonrams and keep it locked to


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