Down But Not Out

Nationals Still a Possibility for Lady Stingers Despite Finals Loss

  • Photos by Celia Ste Croix

Concordia 49 McGill 56

McGill’s Love Competition Hall was the scene of a near-miracle last Friday.

The Martlets may never have trailed Concordia’s women’s basketball team in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec final, but the Stingers showed life in the second half, giving the Martlets a run for their money—but ultimately lost 56-49.

“We didn’t play very good defence,” said Stingers Head Coach Keith Pruden. “They played the way that they normally do, and we just gave them a lot of easy stuff off their screen-and-roll offense.”

The Stingers opened the scoring off a jumper from forward Tina Mpondani, but the Martlets quickly closed in and opened up a 16-6 lead after just 10 minutes of play.

“The season’s not over yet—we’re going to the regionals next week.” Stingers head coach Keith Pruden

In the second quarter the Martlets built on their lead courtesy of Anneth Him-Lazarenko and Françoise Charest, who led the team in scoring with 17 and 14 points, respectively. By halftime they led 30-16.

The Stingers finally came to life in the third when, two minutes in, RSEQ MVP Kaylah Barrett sunk a shot from the three-point line. That kicked off a Concordia run that saw four players combine to score 10 points, including Natasha Raposo who came second in scoring for the Stingers on the night, followed by Barrett’s 23 points.

However, with three minutes remaining the Martlets took over and distanced themselves from the Stingers, taking a 48-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

But even facing the daunting deficit, the Stingers didn’t go down easy. The team sunk multiple shots from the three-point line and pressed hard until the end.

In fact, after a trey from Raposo with 30 seconds remaining, the Stingers were within five points of their rivals. Unfortunately, they got themselves into foul trouble and gave Martlet guard Him-Lazarenko some free shots from the foul line, which she capitalized on.

Concordia’s perseverance had Martlets head coach Ryan Thorne praising them after the contest.

“It’s a good team, they made two really good runs at us, and we stood them,” said Thorne. “I think they did a good job attacking the basket. [Barrett] is one of the best [in] the country doing that.”

Even with the loss, Pruden is optimistic about his team’s finish. “The season’s not over yet—we’re going to the regionals next week.”

Since the Stingers lost in the provincial final, they automatically qualify for regionals along with three other teams, held at the University of Saskatchewan on March 9. If the Concordia squad win their two games, they move on to nationals, which take place in Calgary from March 17 to 19.

But it won’t be an easy task for them, as they’ll be taking on the University of Regina Cougars, a team that finished with a perfect 20-0 record, who were surprised by the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in Saturday’s Canada West championship game, falling 78-59.

Should the Stingers pull off the upset, they’ll take on either the Brock University Badgers, who finished second in the Ontario University Athletics West conference with a 15-7 record, or play hosts the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who also finished second in their division.

The action takes place Friday at 8:15 p.m. in Saskatoon, and you can stream the game live at ssncanada.ca.

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