“We played as poorly as we could,” said Keith Pruden, Coach of the women’s basketball Stingers, as he responded to last Saturday’s disastrous 85-36 road loss to last year’s League champs the Laval Rouge et Or.
No controversy. The officiating was fair. No excuses: It was just a bad game.
It was hard not to think back to the exciting league finals last year that saw the underdog Concordia team come within a minute of defeating the heavy favorite Laval girls. On the other hand, it probably would serve the team better to focus on the season at hand.
“We played against a very good team that is playing well,” Pruden explained.
Laval, still reeling in last year’s victory, controlled the game from the beginning, and used their size to control the boards. It was game-on from the start.
For Concordia it all went wrong: Turnovers. Sloppy passing. Missed opportunities.
The Rouge et Or was in a zone. They just kept coming and coming and forces turnovers and gave the Stingers’ team the final blow early in the game. It wasn’t so much the zone as it was their relentlessness.
But the point is that this was not the true women’s Stinger basketball team.
This was not the team that took two out of three in the highly competitive Manitoba Bison Tournament last October. To see how good this team really is, all one has to do is sit in on a practice session and see this team’s strongwork ethic.
Maybe the Lady Bees were still feeling the aftershocks of losing three straight games at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, though they had fought hard and could walk away holding their heads high.
Perhaps it was the focus on the rematch that had affected the Stingers.
The talk all through training camp was about the rematch. Starting guard Rosie Mendez-Douglas stated in a pre-season interview that the team was eager to play and was waiting for Laval. Other team members were beaming at the possibility of strutting their stuff against the Rouge et Or.
Whatever the case may be, the league should not take the Lady Bees as washed up.
This was just one game. Laval had their game face on; Concordia did not.
No team in this league, least of all Laval, should forget that the Concordia women’s basketball team is one of the best teams in the league. This is a team with incredible passing and rebounding skills with the ability to push the ball up court in a hurry. No other team in the Manitoba Tournament hit from the foul line better than the Lady Bees.
One should not forget that the Bee Girls are capable of, and have shown, that they can play catch-up basketball and can strike at any time. This is probably why the Laval team never stopped attacking. And just because the Lady Bees lost by 49 points, one should not confuse that with a lack of defence.
And as the season moves on, defence will be the key. Defence is the only part of the game that a team can control. A team dictates what is going to happen and then the offence just sort of takes over.
But last Saturday’s game was a different story. “What didn’t go wrong,” Pruden asked, who has already begun preparing for next Saturday’s home game against McGill.”All we can do is put that game behind us and get back to what we know.”
And that is the character of a good team. Let’s put this game to rest.