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Canada basketball

Carleton crowned: Ravens win both men’s and women’s U SPORTS national championships



Mar 13, 2023

The Carleton Ravens etched their school’s name into the U SPORTS record books on Sunday, becoming the third program in history, and first since 1985, to claim both the men’s and and women’s U SPORTS basketball national championships.

After winning the Critelli Cup and OUA Championship earlier this month over the Queen’s Gaels, the Raven’s women’s basketball team took down the Gaels once again on Sunday — this time to win the Bronze Baby.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">NATIONAL CHAMPIONS 🏆🇨🇦<br><a href="">@CURavens</a> defeat <a href="">@queensgaels</a> 71-59 to win the <a href="">@USPORTSca</a> women&#39;s basketball national championship title 🏀 <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; CBC Sports (@cbcsports) <a href="">March 12, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Kali Pocrnic scored a team-high 20 points to lead the No. 1 Ravens to a 71-59 win over the No. 3 Gaels in the gold medal game of the 2023 Protocase Women’s Final 8, presented by Bell, at the Sullivan Field House in Sydney, N.S. 

The Ravens, who won the Bronze Baby in 2018, have now won two of the last five national champions.

After trailing by five at halftime, Pocrnic scored 13 second half points, willing the Ravens to the program’s second-ever national championship, and helping her earn tournament MVP honours. The point guard joined fellow Raven Dorcas Buisa on the tournament all-star team, alongside Laura Donovan and Bridget Mulholland of Queen’s, and Alberta’s Jenna Harpe.

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.

Meanwhile in Halifax, it took until double-overtime for the Ravens to emerge victorious, defeating the host St. Francis Xavier X-Men 109-104 in a double overtime thriller.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">4-PEAT 🏆🇨🇦<a href="">@CURavens</a> win their fourth consecutive <a href="">@USPORTSca</a> men&#39;s basketball national championship title following a 109-104 victory over <a href="">@StFXAthletics</a> in double OT 🚨 <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; CBC Sports (@cbcsports) <a href="">March 12, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The contest marked the first-time ever the national championship game went to double overtime, helping it become the highest-scoring Final 8 game of all-time.

With just seconds remaining in the fourth-quarter and the Ravens, trailing by three, All-Canadian Aiden Warnholtz stepped up and connected from long-range to tie the game and ultimately, send it to overtime.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">MBB | This is absolute INSANITY by Warnholtz🤯<br><br>He sends this Gold Medal game to OVERTIME with dagger 🔥🔥<br><br>CAR | 82<br>STFX | 82<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FearTheConspiracy</a><a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Carleton Ravens (@CURavens) <a href="">March 12, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Avan Nava kept the X-Men alive in overtime by hitting a clutch three-pointer of his own, which forced the second overtime period. But ultimately it was Carleton who pulled away, and won their 17th W.P. McGee Trophy since 2003. The Ravens have now won four-straight national championships and 12 of the last 13 tournaments. 

For STFX, this is their first national medal since 2012, when they won bronze. They last won silver in 2004, when they also lost to Carleton in Halifax.

The national championship game was played in front of over 9,000 fans at the Scotiabank Centre, part of the contingent of a tournament record-breaking attendance of 40,092 over the three-day event.

Warnholtz was named the tournament MVP and joined teammate Grant Shephard on the tournament all-star team. STFX’s David Muenkat, Victoria’s Diego Maffia and Dragon Stajic rounded out the team.

The 2024 Men’s Final 8 will be held in Québec City, with Université Laval acting as tournament host, while the 2024 Women’s Final 8 is set to be hosted by the University of Alberta at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.