Stingers keep strong start in tact

The contest between the Concordia women’s basketball team and the UQAM Citadins was far from the adrenaline pumping showdown which sometimes develops in a match showcasing a heated rivalry. And while much could be made of the lackluster tempo that plagued the better part of the match, when the final buzzer sounded the only thing that really mattered was that the Stingers had won by a score of 60-47.

With their fourth win in five games this season, the Stingers continued to build momentum, as they seem primed to give Laval a run for their money in the battle for a provincial championship. Although a 60-point performance against UQAM isn’t something to get too excited about, Concordia should get some additional satisfaction from getting a fairly easy victory without Grazielle Charles in the line-up. Charles missed the game to an ankle injury but is expected to be back for this weekend’s match against Bishop’s.

The Citadins got off to a surprisingly strong start by taking a quick 6-0 lead to open the game and applied tons of half-court pressure to keep the Stingers from penetrating the perimeter. “They’ve improved a lot since last year,” head coach Keith Pruden explained. “They don’t excpect to lose.”

However, Concordia slowly chipped away at the lead, as they were the better of two teams that were having trouble putting the ball through the hoop. While UQAM finished with an appauling 17 per cent from the field, Concordia was slightly better with a 24 per cent shooting performance.

Although neither team possessed a strong offensive tempo, both made up for it in physicality, as the bigger UQAM team did their best to intimidate Concordia. But the home team wasn’t having any of it as Pascale Moring and Alexandre Roy (standing at just 5-foot-five) both went to the floor hard, challenging for ball possession.

The Stingers were in control of the game at 19-16 after a basket from co-captain Maria-Jose Raposo with less than five minutes remaining. But UQAM made a strong effort to regain the lead before the break, after a couple of late baskets gave them a two-point edge.

Fortunately, Raposo was able to respond in the final seconds with a three-pointer for a 22-21 halftime lead.

Concordia looked like a completely different squad in the second half, as they establsihed some confidence on offence right from the get-go. Emilie Ruel gave the Stingers a lift with a three-point play to start things off and everything flowed a lot smoother from that point on.

Where key players, such as Raposo, Morin and Stephanie Ramonas seemed to falter earlier in the match, they were now setting the pace. Ramonas was especially effective in giving Concordia a shooting option rather than having to rely entriely on inside scoring.

UQAM made a late run to challenge the Stinger lead but their renewed confidence proved too much down the stretch. After the game, Pruden talked about his team’s struggles in getting motivated for game action. “There are days when I think I’m the only one on the team that thinks we’re that good. Teams are coming in prepared for us,” he said. “We’re not playing our best but we’re finding ways to win.”


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