Fourth-year guard Elizabeth Leblanc is following in her brother’s footsteps as she wraps up her fourth and final year as a member of the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team.
Leblanc’s brother, Clinton Springer-Williams played for the Ravens men’s basketball team from 2012-14, winning two national championships in the process.
“Honestly I contribute a lot of my basketball to my brother, cause he’s six years older than me, so every time I saw him playing basketball I just thought, ‘oh let’s just pick it up and throw it around the backyard,’ ” Leblanc said, who started playing in Grade 5.
The London, Ont., native is on the cusp of winning a national title with her team as the Ravens get set to compete in the U Sports national championship starting on March 8.
Leblanc was named an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) second-team all-star for the third consecutive year and was awarded the defensive player of the year award, Carleton’s first award in that category since Aly Bush last won it in 2012-13.
“It’s definitely a goal that I’ve had for the past couple of years, and last year I fell short. I’m friends with the girl that won it last year so we have a running joke that she stole it from me, but it’s a huge accomplishment I find, and I’m so happy that I could fulfill that goal, but I think my teammates were a huge part of that just pushing me everyday,” Leblanc said.
While at Carleton, Leblanc has made many friendships on and off the court. Her relationships with her teammates have helped impact her career on the court as a player but also as a person.
“You can see the chemistry that we have, and the chemistry was built off the court so I think that with the chemistry . . . on the court it make things so much easier,” Leblanc noted. “You learn to trust your teammates so much more, and obviously with off the court stuff we’re around each other all the time and even though I’m seeing everybody four times a day, I’m still like, ‘oh you want to hang out tonight after practice.’ ”
The impact goes both ways. While her teammates have influenced her career, Leblanc has also helped impact her teammates’ careers. One such teammate is Heather Lindsay, a fifth-year player set to graduate alongside Leblanc.
“She’s a really impressive player, going into games knowing that she can guard any of the best players on any of the other teams and stuff, it’s really comforting for everyone else and it causes a lot of comfort just going into the game and realizing that we’ll be okay just cause she’s out there,” Lindsay said.
Over the four years she’s been at Carleton, Leblanc won her first OUA title with the Ravens last year, which also marked her first trip to nationals as well.
Leblanc said was her most memorable moment while on the team have been the championship wins.
“Obviously the two OUA championships, just I think last year was huge because we’d never done it before and this year being undefeated is just crazy breaking those records with everyone.”
Leblanc, along with the rest of her teammates, is headed to the U Sports national championships to chase her dream of winning gold as the Ravens take on the Calgary Dinos on March 8.
“It’s nerve wracking, definitely, I want to win, of course, last year we fell a little short, but I still think last year was a success even though we only got third. It’s something we’d never done before and I‘d never been to nationals so this year, getting another chance to go back and hopefully win it all, the pressures on but just, one goal in mind,” Leblanc said.
Throughout her four years at Carleton, Leblanc said her relationships with her teammates and coaches have not only helped her grow as a player but also as a person off the court.
“I can already see some of the appreciation of the opportunity, you know, there aren’t many times where you can be on the court with some of your best friends and playing at a national level,” Leblanc said. “I want to be able to live in the moment and actually just play my hardest every single game every single minute and to take from the experience.”
Article also appears in The Charlatan