Carleton basketball reaches new level of dominance not seen in 38 years

The Carleton Ravens men's and women's teams each won the national championship on Sunday, the first time the same school has won both since 1985.

Same school won national men's, women's titles for the 1st time since 1985

Basketball players hug after winning a championship. Fireworks go off in the background.
The Carleton Ravens celebrate their victory over the Queen's Gaels in the U Sports women's basketball national championship in Sydney, N.S., on Sunday. (Shane Wilkie/The Canadian Press)

Even with all the success of the Carleton Ravens basketball program this century, there was still history to be made this past weekend.

Playing at the same time in the same province, the Ravens men's and women's teams each won their respective national championships on Sunday.

For the men's team, this was its 17th national championship and the second for the women.

Together, it's the first time a Canadian university has lifted both trophies in the same season since 1985. Only two other schools have done it.

"Because [the men] went into double overtime … we were able to put it on our phones and got to celebrate their victory," said women's head coach Dani Sinclair on CBC Radio's All In A Day.

The men's game was in Halifax while the women were about 400 kilometres away at Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S.

WATCH | Ravens men come back in highest-scoring national final ever:

Carleton secures 4th straight national basketball title with double overtime win

3 months ago
Duration 1:19
Carleton Ravens defeated St. Francis Xavier X-Men 109-104 in double overtime to claim a fourth straight men's basketball national title.

Sinclair, who now has a title as coach along with a win as a player in 2003, credited the team for tightening up its defence in the second half against Queen's: they gave up 31 points in the first half, then only seven in the third quarter.

"[Queen's] is definitely a rival, they finished first in our division and were number one in the country for most of the year. It was a hard-fought game and it was expected to be," she said.

"We've faced them four times now … It's hard to beat a team three times in a row and Queen's is a very aggressive and tough team," said guard Kali Pocrnic, whose 20 points in the final helped her win the tournament MVP award.

A basketball player with the ball faces down a defender near the three-point line.
Kali Pocrnic, right, looks to move the ball against the Queen's Gaels in the national championship game. The Ravens won 71-59. (Shane Wilkie/The Canadian Press)

She and men's team guard Connor Vreeken each discussed their second-half improvements on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Tuesday — the men's team trailed St. FX by as many as 23 points late in the first half.

"The message has always been 'Take it one possession at a time,' so we went into halftime, that's what the three or four older guys were saying and we tried to do that," Vreeken said.

"Then midway through the third quarter that deficit was gone."

Carleton and Queen's were joined on the podium by the University of Ottawa men, who earned bronze after losing to Carleton in the semi-final. The Queen's men's team finished sixth in the country.

"The basketball in this part of the country is at a high level and it's one of the reasons why I wanted to come be a part of it," Sinclair said.

With files from CBC Radio's All In A Day and Ottawa Morning

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now