Bishop’s 79, Concordia 53: Nationally Ranked Ravens Too Much for Women’s Basketball Team
Bishop’s Rookie Drops 32 Points on the Stingers in her RSEQ Debut
This was the first game of the season for a Bishop’s University squad that came in eager to prove they belong among the best teams in Canada, according to Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens.
“They’re ranked number eight in the country right now and they want[ed] to keep that. They don’t want to lose to us and then get dropped,” said Gittens.
Bishop’s lost just one of six games this preseason. Their only tick in the loss column was a two-point loss to non-conference Carleton Ravens.
Both teams looked evenly matched to start the game and Concordia gained a slim 10-6 lead halfway through the first frame after forward Nikita Telesford’s layup.
Guard Myriam Leclerc sparked the move on the defensive end with a block on Bishop’s Katerina Stoupas. The sophomore dribbled down the court and lofted an inch perfect pass to an open Telesford, whose defender was slow to recover.
Unfortunately for the Stingers, those were their last points of the quarter.
“We started off on the wrong foot [and] the energy was pretty low,” said sophomore guard Nelly Owusu. “The communication wasn’t there, especially on defence.”
The Stingers tried to force the ball out of the hands of their opponents best players by trapping but Bishop’s was able to scramble the defence with their quick ball movement. Metchline Gabelus’ layup just before the buzzer capped off a 16-0 run for the Gaiters and put them up 22-10.
Owusu is one of three Stingers players currently in street clothes on the bench. This gives her a view of the court that she acknowledges can be helpful to her teammates.
She is able to pick up things they might not be able to while playing, particularly on the defensive end where she says she “gets her energy.”
Do not mistake her for a backseat driver though. Owusu is stellar defensive player in her own right, averaging a block and just under four steals per game in her last season at Dawson College.
She missed all of her rookie season with the Stingers due to an ACL injury and is still out indefinitely this season.
During the pre-season, coach Gittens insisted she did not want to place pressure on returnees but Owusu might be the kind of spark the Stingers need in games like this.
From that point on Bishop’s never let their foot off the gas.
“I think that they were the aggressor the whole game and they just outworked us” said Coach Gittens, citing her opponents willingness to go after loose balls and make extra effort plays.
Concordia struggled to get shots up against a Gaiters defense, whose play can be likened to a band in total sync. Harmonious, every instrument was exactly where it belonged.
One member of the band stood out in particular, rookie Forward Jael Kabunda. The Gaiters were able to close out the quarter up 44-21 thanks to Kabunda’s 14 points at the half.
The first-year finished with a game-high 32 points in her first ever game in the Réseau Sport Étudiants du Québec.
Coach Tenicha Gittens was full of praise for Kabunda, who is a local player.
“She was a phenomenal player at [College Montmorency]. I think she’s really talented. She’s a mismatch problem as well because she can pop out and knock down that shot and go inside and do some things in there too,” said Gittens.
Kabunda shot 50 per cent (4/8) from three along with eight rebounds and three assists.
By the end of the third quarter, a small but vocal section of the crowd in purple and silver began to urge her to shoot at every opportunity.
The third quarter ended 67-39 for the Gaiters. However, Concordia was able to fight back in the fourth quarter by playing zone defense and going to the post on offense, something coach Gittens says her team must do more actively.
“We have to be intentional about doing some of those things as well, getting the ball inside and really pounding it in there,” she said.
Forward Nikita Telesford scored six of her team-high 17 points in the final quarter, picking up the double double with 11 rebounds.
It was not enough to get out of the deficit and at the final buzzer, it was 79-53 for Bishop’s, but for Telesford it is “on to the next” game against another nationally ranked opponent.
The Stingers play their last home game of the year Nov. 23 against McGill, in what should be a tough game from beginning to end.