It was definitely not the final season that the Ruel sisters, Fanie and Emilie, wanted in their last season at Concordia. It was the first time that the team missed the playoffs since current head coach Keith Pruden took over the team in the 1995-96 season.
With a 1-15 conference record, there aren’t a lot of bright spots to take from the season, but having watched the team in their last four games in Montreal there were definitely some.
The play of Fanie and Emilie Ruel was definitely one. They both averaged over 10 points a game (Emilie 10.5, Fanie 10.3) and they provided a veteran presence and leadership to the team.
The third co-captain, Melanie Larocque led the team in scoring with over 14 points per game and her performance in the team’s only win of the season against the McGill Martlets, including the winning shot with four seconds to play, was one of the brightest spots of the season for the Stingers.
The Stingers used a short bench for most of the season usually only playing nine players a game, but key contributions from players who will be returning is something that the Stingers can look forward to in their drive back to the playoffs after a long offseason.
Second-year player Stephanie Ramonas was fourth on the team in scoring with 7.5 points a game, and provided solid defending for Concordia. Alexandra Roy provided some stability at point guard while Shannah Ernest was one of the team’s best rebounders finishing second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game despite most of her action coming off of the bench.
Ernest, who started the last game of the season for the Stingers, just finished her second season with Concordia and should be a key role next season with the departure of the Ruel sisters.
Third-year player Claire McEwen and rookies Ebony Morris and Sonia LeGoff provided the Stingers with good ball movement from the backcourt all season long coming off the bench and provide a glimpse into the bright future of the team.
The Stingers downfall this season was the turnovers. In games where they limited their turnovers, the team was infinitely more competitive as evidenced in the win against the Martlets.
Although their record says only one win, Concordia won three tournament games, one in a pre-season tournament in Alberta against Fraser Valley and two in the Reebok Invitational tournament that is held yearly at Concordia against conference rivals Bishop’s and UQAM, the latter coming in the consolation final.
That being said, this team had some talent, and has a lot of it coming back next season. If they can limit the turnovers, they should be able to bounce back in a very tough Quebec conference and grab a playoff spot.
The wins against Bishop’s and UQAM (who finished second and third in the conference this season) in the Reebok tournament prove that the team has talent and that limiting mistakes is key. They proved that they can win, and they can be competitive with every team in the conference. It is only a matter of time until they will get to show it in the playoffs. I will even go out on a limb and predict a playoff appearance next season.