Women’s Basketball Preview: A Brand New Chemistry
After Losing Their Top Two Scorers, Stingers Turn to New Lineups and Contributors
For the last three years, Concordia’s women’s basketball team has ended the regular season with the same record; seven wins, nine losses.
Coming into this season, the Stingers had the difficult task of replacing forwards Marylise Roy-Viau and Richelle Gregoire. Both were among the top scorers in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec a year ago, and were vocal leaders on and off the court.
Head coach Tenicha Gittens’ solution has been to take small contributions from everyone on her eight-player roster, and to build chemistry by adjusting lineups to fit every game.
“[Gittens] knows the right situations for all of us,” said fourth-year forward Ashley Moss. “We all have a lot of trust in each other, and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which helps us play smoothly.”
Moss, who sat out last season because of an injured achilles tendon, will be the team’s centre, filling the role that Roy-Viau vacated when she graduated. Moss says she’s been receiving tips and training from Roy-Viau, who now serves as the team’s director of basketball operations and occasionally practices with them.
The rest of the roster is heavy on guards. Gittens hopes that Moss and fellow forward Coralie Dumont will be consistent offensive threats, freeing the team’s guards to roam the perimeter. That’ll make sure each player has plenty of space to create their own offense, making the team difficult to defend.
“We’re dangerous from inside and out,” said fourth-year guard Aurelie D’Anjou Drouin. “We’re a good perimeter shooting team, and we have people that can play in the post and do damage there.”
Concordia’s group of guards is led by Jazlin Barker, who is entering her fifth and final year of eligibility. The Torontonian had a 30 per cent scoring rate from three-point range last year—top of the team and seventh best in the league. This year, Gittens sees a significant improvement from Barker in one important area: Leadership.
“She was more quiet last season,” said Gittens. “But in the preseason I’d see her speak up and be vocal and I said ‘oh, so you can talk now?’”
Barker was the team’s starting point guard throughout the preseason and will likely remain in that spot in the regular season. She was also named one of the team’s three captains, along with D’Anjou Drouin and second-year guard Caroline Task. They’ll form the starting backcourt, while Moss and Dumont will be the duo in the front court.
Though there will be captains, Gittens made it clear that for a roster as small as her’s, everyone has to step up, hold themselves accountable and be leaders.
“This team doesn’t belong to any one person, but rather belongs to all of us,” said Gittens.
That new-found chemistry has translated well to live action, so far. The team posted an 8-1 record in the preseason. Moss was quick to pin their success on communication on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
Now, their sights turn to the main goal: Being successful in the regular season and making it to the national tournament. Their journey begins Thursday evening in the Concordia gym against the Bishop’s Gaiters.
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