Gaiters 68, Stingers 44: Gaiters never surrenders significant lead

A performance without grit hands the Stingers their fifth straight loss

Stingers guard Rowena Blais dribbled past a Gaiters player. Photo Yann Rifflard

The Stingers women’s basketball team looked to end a four-game losing streak in their matchup against the Bishop’s Gaiters on Feb. 1. But turnovers and a cold shooting night would have it otherwise, as the Gaiters came out on top  68-44.

From the beginning, the crowd was hot and excited to see their home team take on the adept and well-coached Gaiters that entered the contest with a 6-6 record.

Both teams played fiercely on the offensive throughout the first quarter, demonstrating that defensive efforts would either make or break the game. 

The intense atmosphere led to overzealous efforts on both sides of the ball, which caused the two teams to commit numerous fouls and turnovers early in the game. From then on, it was a race to see which team would settle into the game first. 

The Gaiters were aggressive and able to get their opponents in foul trouble early. They capitalized, hitting eight of nine attempts from the free-throw line. They controlled the paint early in the game, blocking three shots in the first six minutes. Bishop’s possessed a commanding 21-8 lead after the first frame. 

 In the second quarter, Concordia’s offence was stifled and their possessions were plagued by constant turnovers. Bishop’s found gaps in Concordia’s defense which led to open three-pointers and easier routes to the basket. Heading into halftime, Bishop’s’ lead grew to 38-11. 

Despite this big lead, fans stayed loud and supportive, believing the Stingers could mount a huge comeback throughout the third quarter. Second-year guard Rowena Blais brought the crowd to their feet when she performed an ankle-breaker and hit a beautiful shot to the delight of the crowd. 

The Stingers were on fire in the third, shooting 64 per cent from the field, but were unable to significantly cut Bishop’s lead. Eventually, the Gaiters came out victorious and Concordia succumbed to its fifth straight loss with a final score of 68-44.

“The game plan was to control the pace of the game and be physical. We weren’t doing that and we let them have their way”,  said Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens on the team’s performance.

“In these past losses, I don’t think we played with a lot of passion, grit, and heart. We played well in the second half. If we play like that in our next games, we give ourselves a better chance to win games”, she added. 

One positive takeaway from this game is the strong play from third-year forward Serena Tchida, who looks to be fully healed from her Achilles injury that hindered her earlier on in the season. 

Tchida finished the game with 16 points, a block and two steals.

Coming down to the results of the game, Tchida echoed Gittens’ sentiments.

“We need to start our games better. I don’t know if it is our energy or something else, but we need to try and figure this out,” she said.

Both teams are looking for a final push into playoffs and are in contention for finishing second in the conference. A second-place finish would give either squad a coveted home-court advantage spot throughout the majority of the post-season. 

With five games remaining until the playoffs, the Stingers will return to their home court on Feb. 10 against the Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins. The tip-off is set for 2 p.m.