The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team lost to the nationally ranked #8 Gaiters in a blowout.
Bishop’s really flexed their muscles and showed the Stingers and their fans in attendance at the John Dore Court why they are the 8th ranked team in the nation, beating them by a final score of 79-53.
It was a tight, fast paced game through the first 5 minutes of the opening tip-off but then it fell off the rails for the Stingers. The size mismatch proved to be too much for them as they were out-rebounded 47-33, which included 19 offensive rebounds for the Gaiters.
The Stingers also shot way below par at 35.6% from the field, and only made 2 three pointers on 20 attempts. On the other side, the Gaiters only shot 41.8% but made 12 more shots from the field, mostly coming off second chance opportunities. Their rookie guard Jael Kabunda took the game by storm and introduced herself to the RSEQ division, putting up a game high 32 points. Kabunda more than tripled her team’s next leading scorer.
Here’s what we learned from the women’s game:
- The Stingers short bench is going to be a problem for them down the stretch of the season. It’s not that this team doesn’t have talent, they simply just don’t have the (wo)manpower on the bench to give their starters a rest, only rolling 8 players throughout the game. Down the stretch of the season, that can wear on players and fatigue will set in. Nelly Owusu is recovering from a knee injury that kept her out for all of last season and is expected to return at some point this season. After Thursday’s performance, it’s evident that they need her back sooner rather than later.
- A major bright spot for the Stingers, on a night that was bereft of them, was Sabrina Linéus. If you looked at her statline from the game, you might not find anything all that impressive. That being said, if you watched the game, you know what I’m about to talk about. Defensively, even when the Stingers were down by as much as 32 at one point, she was still giving Bishop’s issues as her compete level never dropped. She proved that she can be an effective bench player who will always give it her all, even when the game is far out of reach. That’s the type of attitude that coaches love.
- We’ve seen these types of games before from the Stingers. Their shot selection was not the problem Thursday night — they were taking good shots, just nothing was falling for them. This game taught us way more about the Gaiters than it did about the Stingers. Last year, we saw Myriam Leclerc come in and dominate for the Stingers, so much so that it won her the U Sports rookie of the year award. Well, one year later, Jael Kabunda looks to be poised to win that award. It’s only one game into the season for the Gaiters but she had an absolutely dominant performance, finishing with 32 points and 8 rebounds. Kabunda wasn’t even a starter for the Gaiters but after that performance I’m sure she’ll be in their starting five for the foreseeable future.
On the men’s side of things, the Stingers fared much better against the 7th nationally ranked Gaiters. They took down Bishop’s 79-72.
The scoreline is being a lot nicer to Bishop’s than how the actual game went as the Stingers held a double digit lead for most of the game.
The Stingers played as perfect of a first quarter as a team possibly could, going 14-16 from the field or shooting at 87.5%. Olivier Simon stole the show for the Stingers as he threw down two dunks in the opening quarter — a rarity in RSEQ basketball.
Of course there was regression to the mean for the Stingers in terms of shooting percentage, but they never looked back from that first quarter. Cedric Bryan Coriolan also had one of his best performances as a Stinger, putting up 20 points, going 7 for 12 from the field, including 4/7 from three point range.
This was one of the best full-team performances I’ve ever seen from the basketball team. Here are my takeaways:
- The Stingers are not a one man team. A lot of people have been counting out this team with the departures of 2018-19 RSEQ MVP Ricardo Monge and Garry Merisier and now it seems like this team has a chip on their shoulder to prove that they still belong in the RSEQ Championship conversation. On Thursday night, four out of the starting five players for the Stingers put up double digit point totals. The offensive depth is something to keep an eye on for the rest of the year as they have some talented players on the bench as well. This group looks poised to make another run at the RSEQ Championship and book themselves another trip to nationals and they proved that last night by taking down the #7 ranked team in the country.
- While it was an all around great game, it has to be said, Olivier Simon has taken his game to another level this season. It’s only two games into it, but he looks like a man on a mission out there. He didn’t get much playing time in the second quarter, but still put his stamp on the game, putting up a respectable 10 points, and going 5/7 from the field in just 17 minutes of game time. I for one, believe he is worth the price of admission alone, and if he continues this level of play, he will be at the front of the line to pick up RSEQ MVP honours for this season.
- Lastly, Adrian Armstrong is not just a three-point shooter. In a game where he went 0/5 from three point range, he still put up 14 points going 7/11 from inside the three point line. Armstrong showed off his incredible ball handling skills all game long and did not force any tough looks. Concordia’s version of Ray Allen has added another weapon to his game. He also added six assists to his statline, creating offense from everywhere. This has been a lot of smoke blowing up the Stingers’ behinds, but after a performance like last night’s, praise has to be thrown their way.
Photos by Cecilia Piga