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UFV Cascades slotted against Carleton Ravens at U Sports Final 8

Women’s basketball national championships begin for Abbotsford-based school on Thursday

The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades have been matched up with the Carleton Ravens to open the U Sports Women’s Final 8 national tournament, which opens in Edmonton on Thursday (March 7).

The Cascades punched their ticket to the event after capturing bronze at the Canada West women’s basketball championships on Feb. 25 in Abbotsford.

UFV enters the tournament as the number seven seed and square off against the second-ranked Ravens.

Carleton won the Critelli Cup for the second straight season with a 63-55 win over the Queen’s University Gaels on Sunday (March 3). The Critelli Cup is awarded to the winner of the Ontario University Athletics conference.

The Ravens have won 15 straight games and have not lost since falling 74-56 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Dec. 6. Carleton is also the defending U Sports champions after beating Queen’s in the gold medal game in 2023.

Carleton is led by guard Kali Pocrnic, who averaged 15.1 points per game (10th in the OUA) during the regular season and was sixth in the OUA in assists per game at 3.5. She also shot .368 from the beyond the arc.

Pocrnic was named the Critelli Cup’s most valuable player and scored 20 points in the Ravens title win. She collected the U Sports Championship MVP trophy at last year’s tournament and was named a first team all-star this season.

Ravens guard Tatyanna Burke was recognized as a second team all-star this season. She’s a former OUA defensive player of the year and this year averaged 10.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Burke shot .537 per cent from the field

Another player to watch on the Ravens is forward Jacqueline Urban. She shot .508 from the field during the regular season and averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Urban also collected 15 blocks.

The Ravens have two B.C. products on the team, as forward Gabrielle Francis (North Vancouver) and guard Miranda Navarro Perez (Victoria) are both on the roster.

Carleton’s head coach is former Victoria Vikes bench boss Dani Sinclair. She was involved on the staff with that program starting in 2005 and was the head coach from 2012 until 2020. She joined the Ravens in 2020 and became the head coach in 2022. She helped the team earn the U Sports title last year. Sinclair was recently named OUA coach of the year.

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The Ravens finished the OUA regular season at 21-1 and have only lost one game all season.

The Cascades finished fourth in the CW with a record of 17-3 and then earned bronze in the CW championships.

They’re led by guard Maddy Gobeil, who was named a CW first team all-star. She finished second in the CW in points per game (17.7) and steals (3.3), sixth in field goal percentage (.482), 11th in assists (3.3), 14th in three-point percentage (.329) and 25th in rebounds (5.8).

This will be the first time that the Ravens and Cascades have ever met outside of the preseason.

The two teams met back on Oct. 11, 2019 at the Calgary Cup with the Ravens earning a 78-40 win. Gobeil, Natalie Rathler and Deanna Tuchscherer are the only Cascades still on the roster from that game. Pocrnic, Burke and Dorcas Buisa were all in the lineup for the Ravens that day. Gobeil led the Cascades with nine points in that loss.

The Cascades and Ravens tip-off on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Abbotsford time.

RELATED: UFV Cascades perform bronze beatdown on Victoria Vikes, qualify for Nationals

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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