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Ladies’ basketball red hot in winter 2008

by Archives February 5, 2008

An 89-69 victory against McGill was exactly what the Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team needed as they prepare for their date with league-leaders UQAM and Laval next weekend. The McGill Martlets fell Saturday night at the Loyola Sports Complex; in a morale-boosting game for the Stingers and their fourth win in six games.
“[The game] was huge, psychologically,” said Stingers head coach Keith Pruden.
Even when playing the last-place Martlets, Concordia needed to stay sharp. The ladies started the game shaky, especially when McGill used a full-court defensive press.
The Stingers created offensive chances, notably Heather Eason’s efforts on the boards and creative passes to open players under the hoop.
A baffled Pruden noted, “On offense, I actually don’t know what they were running. They seemed to be improvising, but it was working.”
Concordia’s biggest challenge throughout the entire game was defending against McGill’s Nathifa Weekes, Christine Kennedy and former Stinger Émilie Ruel. The game was still within reach for the Martlets as the Stingers led by only seven (39-32) at halftime.
For the last 20 minutes the Stingers were led by Yasmin Jean-Philippe’s career-high 26 points. Despite a strong McGill defensive unit, Jean-Philippe calmly managed to find open spots on the floor. As Concordia went on a scoring run in the third quarter, leaving a 19-point gap.
A particularly great play came from Stephanie Ramonas who, in 30 seconds, stole the ball and scored, went down the floor to grab a defensive rebound and drew a foul. Krystle Douglas quietly chipped in a dozen points and Chelsea Cassidy helped with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The fourth quarter was when Concordia’s foul woes came to plague them. Although Pruden commented “it hurt McGill as much as it hurt us in terms of sending players to the line,” Eason and Ramonas fouled out within two seconds of each other. Pruden noted a particularly difficult match-up for 5’9″ Kristin Portwine who, despite four fouls, closely covered 6’2″ Émilie Ruel.
McGill drew closer in the dying minutes as the game became more physical. “It was pretty ugly at times. In the last five minutes, McGill was down in a game they needed to win. All the pressure starts to come up, so they started to shoot the ball a little bit better,” said Pruden.
It was no use as Cassidy’s free throws and Felon Harris’s three pointer with 43 seconds left sealed the deal. Jean-Phillip explained in simple terms the reason for her team’s success, “I think that we realize what we had to do and we work hard at practice.”
Next week the ladies face the UQAM Citadins and the Laval Rouge et Or. Jean-Philippe’s game plan is clear. “If we do what we did tonight, we can beat them.”
The Stingers are winless against both teams, but Pruden knows what they need to focus on.
“UQAM is doing really well just on hard work. To prepare for them we have to be sure we can match them for 40 minutes. Laval is just too good to not play well against. You can’t make mistakes against Laval or they’ll kill you,” he said.
Concordia faces Laval in Quebec City on Friday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. and UQAM visits the Loyola Gym on Saturday Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.

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