SYDNEY, N.S. (U SPORTS) - Kali Pocrnic scored a team-high 20 points to lead the first-seed Carleton Ravens to a 71-59 win over the No. 3 Queen’s Gaels in the gold medal game of the 2023 Protocase Women’s Final 8, presented by Bell, at the Sullivan Field House in Sydney on Sunday evening. Pocrnic had 13 second half points, willing the Ravens to their second-ever Bronze Baby.
The national championship got off to a hot start with the two teams exchanging buckets in the opening few minutes of the game. Five offensive rebounds for Queen’s gave them a slight advantage on the scoreboard as they led 16-14 after one. The Gaels’ three-point shooting gave the Ravens fits, with Queen’s hitting at a 47 per cent clip in the first half. Carleton was down by as much as seven but cut it to five as the Gaels took a 31-26 lead at halftime.
The Ravens needed a spark out of the break and slowly chopped away at the Queen’s lead. Carleton went shot for shot with the Gaels, tying it up with three minutes in, before eventually taking their first lead of the game since the first quarter at the three-minute mark. The Ravens won the quarter 20-7 and had a 46-38 lead after 30. Carleton did not look back in the final quarter, fending off the desperate Gaels. Queen’s cut the lead to just six with under two minutes to go, but the Ravens were crowned national champions with a 71-59 win.
Pocrnic’s 20 points led the way for the Ravens. The point guard added eight assists while being named Final 8 tournament most valuable player. Teresa Donato came off the bench for Carleton, chipping in 14 points and four rebounds. Dorcas Buisa added 12 points, and Emma Kiesekamp had herself an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double.
For the Gaels, Laura Donovan was named player of the game with her game-high 23 points. Donovan shot 5-for-10 from three. Bridget Mulholland was a force for Queen’s, chipping in 17 points and six rebounds.
For Queen’s, their silver medal represents a one-level upgrade from the bronze they won when they hosted the Women’s Final 8 last year.
The Ravens’ win in Sydney, combined with their male counterparts’ thrilling victory in Halifax later, gave Carleton the first sweep of the men’s and women’s basketball titles since Victoria pulled off the feat in 1985.
Pocrnic won tournament MVP honours and was joined by teammate Dorcas Buisa on the tournament all-star team. The Gaels’ Donovan and Bridget of Queen’s, along with Alberta’s Jenna Harpe made up the rest of the all-star squad.
The 2024 Women’s Final 8 is set to be hosted by the University of Alberta at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.