Women’s Basketball News

Fifth-year forward Carly Ahlstrom tied a season-high, and set a tournament-high, with 27 points to lead the top-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies to a 64-57 semifinal victory over the #4 Laval Rouge et Or Saturday evening at Saville Centre.

Schedule & Results 

Ahlstrom was sensational in the contest, the focal point for an offence that for a lot of the game could not get much going without her. Saskatchewan shot just 33.3% apart from her, compared to her 45% mark. She also added five rebounds and two steals in one of the best performances in this tournament thus far.

“She can really shoot the ball,” said UofS head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “She is such a competitor; she doesn't shy away from big moments, and it showed again tonight."

It is the second time in three years that the Huskies have reached the U SPORTS Championship Final, with the last coming in the 2022 tournament. They will tip-off against the winner of the second semifinal between Queen’s and Carleton later this evening. Laval moves on to the Bronze Medal Game where they will face the loser.

"We knew they could shoot the ball, but until you are out there and can see how deep they can shoot it and how quick they can get it off,” continued Thomaidis. “But I am really proud of how we battled back and took the lead going into half. I think that was huge, it just settled us down."

Laval was paced by an incredible depth effort, with four players in double-digits for points, and the fifth finishing with nine. Sabrine Khelifi was great, finishing with 11 points on just six attempts and adding eight rebounds and four assists in a complete performance.

Rouge et Or got off to a scorching start at the Saville Centre, going on a 16-2 run led by Léa-Sophie Verret who had a three and a nice Eurostep layup to force an early Saskatchewan timeout. However the Huskies number-one ranked offence would soon unthaw thanks to two threes from Logan Reider, but it would not be enough to overcome the early deficit as Laval exited the first with a 22-15 lead. The Rouge et Or hit an eye-popping six threes in the opener, including two from leading scorer Frédérique Beaudry-Blais.

The Huskies would fire the opening salvo in the second, going on a 7-0 run to knot the game up at 22. And while Florence Fortin would do her best to slow the Saskatchewan momentum, Carly Ahlstrom would take over with eight points in the final five minutes to take the Huskies into the break with a 32-30 lead.

Ahlstrom lead all scorers at the break with 15 points, including the two threes and a perfect 5-for-5 mark form the line. Both teams struggled to find twine, going a combined 21/63 from the field (33.3%) as the defensive effort was ratcheted up to high in the first half.

The Huskies, led again by Ahlstrom who had five points in the opening minutes, took control for most of the third quarter outscoring the Rouge et Or 19-17. However, they opened a larger lead earlier in the frame, but a 6-0 Laval run late tightened the margin. Gage Grassick was able to lead the Huskies from the point, scoring a quarter-high seven, while Sabrine Khelifi had four points and three rebounds for Laval. The stage was set for an exciting finish in the competition gym with Saskatchewan leading 51-47.

And who else but Carly Ahlstrom to take the #1-seeded Huskies to the finish line. In the opening minutes of the fourth she scored four points and assisted the other Huskie bucket as they went up seven on the Rouge et Or with five minutes remaining. However, Fortin and Khelifi would put up a fight, each scoring to cut the lead to as little as five with a minute left, but Grassick would convert both intentional free throws as the Huskies advanced.

The Bronze final tips-off at 5:00 p.m. MT, while the Championship Final goes at 7:30 p.m. MT.

Boxscore

Players of the Game

Saskatchewan: #3 Carly Ahlstrom

Laval: #3 Frédérique Beaudry-Blais