The Concordia women’s basketball team was defeated 74-66 in a down-to-the-wire match against the Laval Rouge et Or. Laval is currently ranked the top team in the division. Concordia’s eight point margin is the closest that any team has come to beating them all season.
The game started out slowly for the Stingers. Their first basket from the field came from Felon Harris after seven minutes of play. Concordia’s league-leading free-throw percentage kept them afloat as they went a perfect eight for eight in the first 20 minutes. However a combination of sloppy passing and quick Laval feet put the Stingers behind 32-27 at halftime.
Laval’s quick passing and solid defence kept their lead alive until the dying minutes of the third quarter. Stinger guard Krystle Douglas’s drives to the hoop and strong play by forwards Kristin Portwine and Stephanie Ramonas inched Concordia closer to Laval’s score. Concordia’s shooting percentage from the field jumped from 28 per cent in the first half to 53 per cent in the second. A back-to-back three pointer and buzzer-beater by Yasmin Jean-Philippe put the Stingers ahead 53-51 going into the last quarter. Heather Eason and Douglas both had a particularly good third quarter with five points and one steal apiece.
After a brief scoring drought at the beginning of the last quarter, the two teams were deadlocked 53-53. There was a two minute freeze on scoring as both teams couldn’t seem to break the other’s defence. Dependable baskets by Douglas, who leads her team in points, kept Concordia abreast with Laval. In the last minute the Stingers were down by five. A three-pointer by Ramonas with 23 seconds left had the crowd on its feet. It was for naught, in the end the Rouge et Or sunk six free-throws in a row to lock up the victory.
“I’m happy with how they played tonight. They had intensity. They had the opportunity to quit but didn’t give up,” said Concordia head coach Keith Pruden.
Pruden also noted that Laval’s strength came from Concordia’s flaws. “We lost because we didn’t do all we needed to do. Laval didn’t outplay us. We made some mistakes and Laval will punish you for every mistake you make.”
Portwine was singled out by Pruden as an outstanding player who has the ability to keep calm, even with the game on the line. “We need to make the right decisions in the last bit of the game. Sometimes we get so worked up in the moment that we don’t see the big picture, that we only need a couple of baskets to win,” she said.
The Stingers have this week off. Their next game is Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. op’s University.