Shooting for 3

Stingers Women’s Basketball Team Looks to Reach Third Straight RSEQ Championship Game in 2013-2014 Season

  • Photo Yacine Bouhali

Concordia’s women’s basketball team ended last season with a heartbreaking three-point loss to the McGill Martlets in the provincial championship.

That game made it two consecutive years the Martlets kept the Réseau du sport du Québec Conference title out of the Stingers grasp.

“I hope this hurts for the rest of the summer, and every time they go to the gym to shoot all they think about is this game,” assistant coach Rastko Popovic told The Link after the close loss last year.

The summer is now behind them, but the drive for a championship remains apparent in this team: the Stingers concluded their preseason by winning the Carleton tournament last Sunday, giving them an overall record of 8-4 in exhibition matches.

“We played more games in the preseason than anybody else in the CIS this year,” said head coach Keith Pruden. “You have to be able to win on the road. Not just to win your conference, but to compete in nationals.”

The immediate successes and togetherness of the team can be partly explained by the addition of only one new face on this year’s team to accompany the 10 returning players.

“We’re the exact same team as last year with the addition of one new rookie, however I would say we’re better because we’ve grown and learned to play together; chemistry is much stronger,” said point guard Ashley Clarke, who’ll be playing her last year with the Stingers.

“[I expect us] to play more as a team, feed off each others energy and come together when times are not in our favor instead of just breaking down.”

Forward Alexandra Tessier will play her first year of university basketball for the Stingers after winning rookie of the year honours on Concordia’s women’s rugby team.

“Alex is a tremendous athlete and she’s the kind of player that things happen around spontaneously,” said Pruden. “She can impact games; it’s really just a question of how comfortable she gets switching to basketball 100 per cent now.”

The Stingers will be without centres Andrea Baptista and Jodelle Dixon, who have moved on from the team.

Returning, however, is two-time All-Canadian and 2012 RSEQ MVP Kaylah Barrett and Marilyse Roy-Viau, who last year was named on the Collegiate Interuniversity Sport All-Rookie team after helping the Stingers make it to the provincial finals for a second straight season.

“We certainly have the talent,” said Pruden. “We’re playing better defense now so we should be competing to be in the final.”

Concordia’s women’s basketball team will begin their run for their first provincial championship since the 1998-1999 campaign this Thursday when they open their season on the road against the Université de Québec à Montréal Citadins.

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