The Lady Bees basketball team ended the regular season on a good note, eking out a close 64-62 win over the Laval Rouge et Or at Loyola Gym Friday night. The win kept the Bees in the QSSF playoff hunt, but they were eliminated the next day when a McGill victory over UQAM gave the Martlets the final playoff spot.
The game started Friday night after a long delay due to the men’s game lasting until triple overtime. Laval coach Linda Marquis wasn’t worried by the unsuspected extra hour of free time, saying “it wasn’t a big challenge; we were able to control emotions.” Lady Bees head coach Keith Pruden said that because his team usually plays home games after the men, they were used to the delay, adding that he told them to go play cards in an effort to stay sharp. After nearly a one-hour wait, the game finally got underway, with Concordia pulling out the win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Though Laval is ranked seventh in the country and had previously lost only two divisional games, Pruden was quick to dismiss any notions of this game being considered an upset. He cited his team’s performance in the three previous games against Laval, in which they lost twice in overtime and once by four points in regulation. Pruden added that “the league is so close this year, which is why we are looking at the wire finish we have.” The team “did what we needed to do today to beat a really good team.”
The Bees jumped out to an early 6-0 lead thanks to an aggressive defense led by forward Nekeita Lee, who had two steals and four points in the game’s opening minutes. Laval fought back to pull within one and the first quarter ended with a relatively low score of 14-13. The half ended with Laval surging ahead for a 32-28 lead, thanks largely to a huge 10-point second quarter from six-foot tall forward Sandrine Ducruc, who finished the game with a team-leading 17 points.
Laval used a tall lineup, with five players measuring at least five-foot-ten or above, to overpower the Bees for most of the game, but Pruden says his team’s containment of the Laval forwards is what allowed the Bees to eventually pull out the win.
“We tried to stop what they’re best at, which is low post scoring, and we tried to take away their easy transition layups and we did a really good job of that tonight which is why we were able to limit them in their scoring,” he said.
While most of Laval’s scoring was done by Ducruc, Concordia used a more well-balanced attack, with Lee (10), Yasmin Jean-Philippe (11), Kendra Carrie (11), and Andreanne Gregoire-Boudreau (14) all scoring in the double digits.
The Lady Bees bench, knowing a playoff spot was on the line, cheered loudly all game long after every block, steal, or basket. The Bees ended their regular season with a win and their playoff destiny in the hands of cross-town rival McGill, whose win over UQAM stole a playoff spot from the Bees.
Despite the loss, Laval coach Marquis was not worried about her team’s playoff prospects, adding that they are still motivated and that the team tends to struggle in games that don’t mean as much for her team as their opponent.