McGill 58, Concordia 55: Women’s Basketball Falls Short Against Martlets

Stingers Move to Last Place in RSEQ After Another Narrow Loss.

Point guard Myriam Leclerc looks to swing pass near the baseline. Photo Oseremen Irete

Both teams came into the John Dore gymnasium at the bottom of the standings and in need of a win on Saturday, but it was the Martlets who escaped with their first victory of the season at the Stingers’ expense.

Head coach Tenicha Gittens downplayed any talk of a rivalry with McGill, citing the team’s poor record against their opponents since her arrival.

“I wouldn’t call it a rivalry, they’re just down the street from us. It’s a rivalry when you kind of split and you go back and forth, I think they kind of got us beat on that,” Gittens said.

Since Gittens’ tenure as head coach began in the 2015-2016 season, the Stingers have faced the Martlets on 20 occasions, with McGill holding the upper hand, winning 13 of them.

Four of Concordia’s seven wins came last season, with the Stingers defeating the Martlets three out of four times in the regular season and sending them home during the playoff semifinals.

The game began with the Martlets coming out of the gates full of energy. The cheers from their bench echoed across the gymnasium even before the jump ball. That energy is something Coach Gittens feels is missing from her team and hopes they can find soon enough.

Gittens wants her team to “come out here with some type of intensity, energy, [and] some intentional fortitude. We’re lacking that, we’re not tough we’re not intense.”

The first quarter ended with both teams tied 15 apiece. Second-year forward Gretta Ineza scored all eight of her points in the quarter, going 2/3 from three to keep the Stingers in the game.

McGill came out firing on all cylinders, starting the second quarter with an unanswered six-point run . The Stingers retaliated well thanks in part to guard Caroline Task’s seven points in the quarter.

The score sat at 32-28 at halftime.

In what has become a pattern for the Stingers this season, the team struggled to get going coming out of the half.

McGill made just one of their 10 three-point attempts in the third but was able to create second chance opportunities thanks to their sizable rebounding differential, as they grabbed 40 to Concordia’s 27.

“You have to compete. Everything comes down to competing,” said Gittens. “We don’t compete on the glass, we don’t do it consistently.”

Areej Burgonio drives hard to the paint as defender tries to cut her off. Oseremen Irete

Second-year McGill forward Sirah Diarra put in a masterclass on the boards grabbing 10 rebounds through three quarters. Diarra finished the game with 15 rebounds along with a game-high 22 points, spurring the Martlets onto a 47-37 lead to end the third.

The Stingers fought back in the fourth frame, outscoring their opponents 18-11. Guards Myriam Leclerc and Caroline Task were tied for a team-high 16 points, with nine of Task’s points coming in the final frame.

When Myriam LeClerc’s jumper cut the lead down to just three points with 40 seconds left in the game, it looked like the Stingers might snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. But the Stingers failed to get a good look at the basket to finish off the game.

Since starting the season with a win against UQAM, the Stingers have now lost three games in a row, sinking to last place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec standings.

Despite the losing streak, the team has been within striking in their last two losses, falling by five points or less in both meetings.

For coach Gittens these kinds of losses cut a bit deeper because “it just goes to show if we came out from the jump with intensity and effort and with a sense of urgency, we would’ve put ourselves in a position to win the game.”

The Stingers play their last game of 2019 away at UQAM at 4:00 p.m. on Nov. 30.