McGill 66, Concordia 58: Stingers Women’s Basketball Falls Short Against Martlets

Stingers Sputter in Third Quarter Once Again

Concordia suffers tough loss to McGill at home. Photo Caroline Marsh
Stingers guard Nelly Owusu attacks the rim in first half of the game. Photo Caroline Marsh

Saturday’s loss to McGill at home is yet another blow for the Stingers as they struggle to replicate the form that saw them earn their first trip to Nationals in 20 years last season.

Concordia currently sits at the bottom of the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec standings with a 3-5 record, a stark contrast to the 6-2 record the team had at the same point last season.

“Of course we [have] high expectations […] We went to Nationals and we had an opportunity to win a championship, so we’re certainly not going to lower our standards,” said head coach Tenicha Gittens.

“Right now we’re not playing championship caliber basketball. We see glimpses of it [but] hopefully we get there sooner or later,” said Gittens.

The team got off to a promising start against McGill thanks to 44 per cent shooting from beyond the arc. Sophomores Myriam Leclerc and Greta-Olivia Ineza made a pair of threes each in the quarter to put the Stingers up by a slim 16-13 margin at the end of the first frame.

Concordia looked like the better team to begin the second quarter.

Second-year guard Nelly Owusu drew a foul on a fastbreak drive, then made both free throws to give Concordia their largest lead of the game, bringing the score to 28-16 with 4:37 left on the clock in the second.

Owusu finished with a game high 17 points, four rebounds, two steals and one block, playing just 23 minutes. She brought her conditioning up to speed in her third game back after an ACL and shoulder injury.

“[It] just felt natural, I didn’t overthink it. It would have felt better if we would have had a W. But it felt good just being back,” Owusu said.

Timely buckets from McGill guards Geraldine Cabillo-Abante and Ruth Tshikudi-Tshila at the end of the quarter helped the Martlets cut the Stinger lead to single digits, with Concordia leading 34-29.

Owusu engages in a mini tussle for the ball with McGill defender. Photo Caroline Marsh

The Stingers have struggled to get going coming out of halftime throughout this season and this game was more of the same.

McGill started the third quarter on an 13-2 run, racing to a 42-36 lead over Concordia with 6:04 to go. The Martlets maintained their six point cushion and ended the third up 53-47.

The Stingers tried to run their opponents off the three-point line but often failed to rotate quick enough on the interior to prevent easy buckets, allowing center Sirah Diarra and forward Nadège Pluviose to take advantage of the space.

Pluviose and Diarra both ended the game with 16 points. Diarra was one rebound shy of a double double and added two assists, three steals, and a block.

“We had a game plan and when we stuck to it I thought we did a good job defensively. When we moved away from it we didn’t” said Gittens.

Stingers G]guard Areej Burgonio’s fourth quarter three pointer was the team’s only long ball since the first quarter, but it came a bit too late for Concordia as McGill saw out the game 66-58
While they are in a less than ideal position, the season is far from over and the Stingers could still grab some wins and gain some momentum going into the postseason.

The team still has room to improve as new additions from schools south of the border like Shanice Neita and Nikita Telesford acclimate to life in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec.

“It’s tough because we lost a couple of key players from last year, so although we brought back a lot of our roster, the girls that we added who do have experience playing at another level, it’s still different when you come here… it takes a period for them to adjust to our pace, our style of play and all of that,” said Gittens.

The Stingers have adjusted their lineup, moving Forward Nikita Telesford to the bench and tweaks like that could be crucial for unlocking the right combinations of players to find success.

Concordia has also only played eight games compared to fourth placed McGill and third placed UQAM who have played 11 and 10 respectively and could leapfrog those teams when the schedule is even.

There is still time for this Stingers team to turn the season around but the clock is ticking.

Concordia will face Bishop’s University in their next home game on Jan. 30 at 6:00 p.m.