Concordia finishes fifth in Nike Tournament

The Concordia Stingers’ women’s basketball team won two of three games at the Concordia Nike Tournament last Dec. 29 to 31, but it was only good enough for a fifth place finish.

In the first game against Queen’s, Stinger guard M.J Raposo led the team with 11 points and five rebounds, guard Pascale Morin scored ten baskets and was in position for three rebounds, and Rosie Mendez-Douglas scored six and picked up three steals, all in a losing effort as the Golden Gaels upset the Stingers 55-42 in the first round.

According to Head Coach Keith Pruden, the only real statistic that counts is the terrible shooting percentage. “If you are going to shoot for 30 percent,” Pruden said of his team, “you had better take 100 shots if you want to win.” Queen’s finished the game with a respectable 46 percent.

Queen’s Head Coach David Wilson was concerned about Concordia’s ability to score off the penetration. “We just deflated on defence and tried to force Concordia guards to kick out the ball to their shooters,” he said. “Because our defence was deflated, we gave Concordia some good looks hoping they would have a poor shooting game.”

It was a gamble that paid off. Concordia ball handlers and drivers often found themselves with no other option, but to give it up to the wings.

“We rushed our shots when we didn’t have to,” said Pruden. “Our whole game was off. Our shooting was terrible. That is why we lost.”

That and the non-statistic that doesn’t show up in the box score: the easiness in which Queens dictated the pace of the entire game.

Lead by All-Star guard Casey Pratt’s 11 points and her court leadership, Queen’s took the lead at the 53-second mark of the first half and the rest was history.

“They did a good job of controlling the game,” explained Pruden. “They adjusted well to our press and showed a great deal of patience.”

That would be the other non-statistic: the amount of patience displayed by Queens.

With 7:40 remaining in the first half Pruden called a time-out in response to a 12-point Queens run that saw his team down 21-8. Pruden was livid. “We did not execute the press very well,” said Pruden, who was beside himself with frustration and was very vocal in the huddle. “Why should I have to motivate them in that way?”

The motivation was temporary and Concordia rebounded enough to come within five points of the lead, but by half time their opponents were leading 28-21.

As the game went on the Stingers seemed to implode. Even as six foot two Queen’s defensive star Amy Goodday sat out the last five minutes with foul trouble, the Stingers were unable to penetrate.

Even a last minute surge by Pascale Morin, who hit a three-pointer, Queen’s kept their lead and won the preliminary round 55-42.

The Stingers faired better against a less-than-willing McGill Martlet team in their second game. Taking advantage of a McGill team that forgot how to put the ball in the basket, Raposo scored 27 points and basically claimed the boards as her own with 13 rebounds, and the dependable Pascale Morin dropped in 14, as Concordia handed a 73-51 loss to McGill.

“We showed up to play today,” said Raposo. “For my part I decided to be greedy with ball and go to the hoop every chance I got. What choice did I have? We played a terrible game against Queens.”

The change of pace among the team might have something to do with the post game locker room “chat” with the guest speaker being Head Coach Keith Pruden. “I told the team that if anyone does not want to play they could clean out their locker,” he said.

Concordia had to settle for fifth place after they defeated Bishops 73-60 as Pascale Morin led the way with 24 points.

“Pascale is a very energetic player and always works hard,” said Pruden. “Today she was our leader.”

The Nike Tournament has been on hiatus for five years, but Pruden has resurrected Concordia’s annual eight-team women’s basketball tournament.

“I remember when Concordia used to have the best tournament in Canada,” says Pruden.

“At least four of the teams from the tournament would go on to compete at Nationals, there’d be a good mix of teams from across the country and it was great basketball.”

The women’s team will resume league play Jan.11 at Bishop’s.

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