Basketball teams both 2-1 on the season
Both Concordia Stingers basketball teams beat McGill Thursday night at the Love Competition Hall in downtown Montreal. The women’s team won 77-63, while the men avenged their loss in last year’s final with a 87-81 win.
After losing their first game of the season earlier this month, the Stingers have now won two consecutive games.
The Stingers’s defence had to set up strong early in the game. The team allowed only six points in the second quarter, and led 46-23 at halftime. However, the Martlets scored 40 points in the last 20 minutes of play to give a good battle to the Stingers.
“I think we did a good job in general,” said Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens. “There are still things we need to be tightening up defensively and fix. In the second half, a lot of their shooters got loose, and that’s just us having a mental lapse.”
First-year point guard Myriam Leclerc carried her team, registering 24 points, four assists, and four steals. Leclerc now has 59 points in three games played this season, giving her an average of 19.7 points per game.
According to Gittens, Leclerc takes pressure off her teammates. “She’s our floor general,” Gittens said. The term “floor general” in basketball is used to describe a player that brings leadership by dictating the offence. “As she goes, we go. When she’s playing well, it makes it easier for girls like [guard] Caroline Task to do what she has to do. [Forward] Coralie Dumont comes in and does what she does.”
Leclerc said the trust between the players helped her against the Martlets. “If there’s something, we let each other know,” Leclerc said. “We’re confident when we play and it helps me to know when to shoot.”
The Martlets’s crowd was loud and intense, at times making it hard for the players to hear each other, but the Stingers expected that. “We were prepared the same way we did for the other games,” Leclerc said. “We knew the crowd would be loud, but it’s an atmosphere we love to play in.”
With this win, the Stingers are now in second place in the RSEQ standings, behind the Université Laval Rouge et Or.
The Stingers got back on the win column against the Redmen after losing their last game 85-68 on Nov. 15 against the Université de Québec à Montréal Citadins.
“It was that kind of game where I wanted to see how we were going to respond,” said Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic, who wanted a bounce-back effort from the loss. “We had some injuries, and now Sami Ghandour was back [for that game]. We didn’t have a great start, but I think we showed a lot of passion and we didn’t quit.”
In his first game back from an injury, Ghandour finished with nine points and nine rebounds. The Stingers scored 30 of the 47 points registered in the third quarter. Popovic said the Stingers’s defence made the difference in the second half.
“They turned the ball over, which allowed us better opportunities for easier shots, and made their defence scramble,” said Popovic about his defence.
Popovic added that his players really improved once they took the lead.
“We weren’t necessarily great in the first quarter,” Popovic said. “We missed some shots, and that’s why I think we were trailing that way. However, we really played better and consistent after.”
Stingers forward Olivier Simon led his team with 32 points, a career-high. He also finished the game with seven rebounds in 30 minutes of play. The forward credited his teammates for his performance.
“Those are team points,” Simon said. “We moved the ball well, and we knew what to do to win. Everyone contributed, so it’s a great team win.”
Simon said early wins in the season like this prove to the team what they are capable of. “We had a lot of difficulties against the Redmen in the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s a good team, but also a rival. It helps to build some confidence for the next games when we’ll face similar situations.”
Both teams play their next game on Nov. 24 against the Bishop’s Gaiters at the Concordia Gym. The women play at 2 p.m., and the men’s game is at 4 p.m.
Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.