Stingers 55, Martlets 36: Concordia pulls away in fourth quarter

Staunch defence from Areej Burgonio helps the Stingers get the win

Stingers guard Rowena Blais and forward Serena Tchida (left to right) block a McGill player. Photo Alice Martin

On Nov. 11, the Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team earned a 55-37 win in an intense game against crosstown rivals McGill University Martlets. Strong performances from senior players and a huge rally in the fourth quarter secured the victory.

“Against Laval, we lacked poise. This week, that was our message during practice,” said head coach Tenicha Gittens. She highlighted the importance of keeping calm and finishing strong in tough situations. “That is what’s on our board, to control the tempo and pace of the game.” 

The Stingers were off to a fast start in the first quarter. Constant ball movement pressured the opposition and Stingers guards set the tone for the game with reliable play-making on offence. Starting guards Areej Burgonio and Rowena Blais combined for 11 points. After the first quarter, Concordia led 16-8.

McGill rose up to the challenge in the second frame as the game intensified. Though both teams found themselves struggling to score, McGill had greater success in the back-and-forth by making tough shots. The Martlets’ constant pressure into the paint led to free-throws, while Concordia didn’t attempt one the entire quarter. Going into halftime, McGill closed on the Stingers’ lead 27-24.

The Martlets seemed to turn the tides in the second half. McGill found spaces in the paint and reacted quicker to loose balls. McGill’s rebounding and second efforts led them to take the lead for the first time. The Stingers shot an underwhelming 17 per cent from the field, but five successful free-throws out of six kept them confident in a so-far scrappy game. 

Burgonio appeared to be a steady hand for the Stingers during their dry-spell, shooting 100 per cent from the stripe and providing veteran leadership that would set the stage for the fourth quarter. The Stingers and the Martlets were both tied 36-36 heading into the fourth quarter. 

In the final frame, Burgonio put on a show, going four for five with a three-pointer. She was driving into the paint and finishing spectacularly at the rim. On the defensive end, she recorded a block that was met with a roar from the packed home crowd. 

Along with Burgonio’s incredible performance, Concordia’s fourth-quarter defence also turned up a notch. The Stingers’ defence was virtually impenetrable as they did not allow a single field goal the entire quarter. With Burgonio’s outstanding plays and the Stingers suffocating defence, Concordia played with the poise Gittens looked for, took a commanding lead, and closed out the game with a final score of 55-37. 

“Defence is what caused us to win the game today,” said Stingers forward Serena Tchida. “The coaches and staff emphasize defence every practice.”

Players on the team spoke to the importance of protecting their home court. “We’re always happy to play at home. In front of our loved ones and the alumni who come and show support. Playing at home is always an advantage for us,” Burgonio said.

With this win, the Stingers look forward to carrying their defence to the next home game against the Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins on Nov. 16. Tip-off will begin at 6 p.m.