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Stingers drop pair before break

by Archives December 6, 2006

After losing two games this past week, the Concordia women’s basketball team will finish the first half of the 2006-07 season in last place of the Quebec University Basketball League (QUBL).

The Stingers faced off against the Martlets during McGill’s home opener last Thursday, losing 68-61. They also dropped a Saturday night match to the Bishop’s Gaiters, this time losing by 20 points, 78-58.

“It was as if we were all playing on a different level,” said guard Cshandrika Hutson about Concordia’s loss to McGill.

The Stingers started the game off slowly, trailing by a score of 7-2 early. McGill’s offence had no problem attacking the basket, often scoring uncontested shots and lay-ups against a seemingly shell-shocked Concordia defence.

“We are a very good defensive team, but we were just flat-footed. We weren’t moving. We weren’t rotating,” Hutson said.

Martlet fouls allowed the Stingers to claw their way back into the game, despite the fact that the Concordia offence was out of sync. The score at halftime did not reflect McGill’s dominant play, as Concordia trailed by a mere five points, 36-31.

“We pretty much didn’t even run [the offence],” said Hutson, adding that they were not playing as a team.

The Stingers began the third quarter with better offensive ball movement, but a lack of intensity on the boards allowed McGill to capitalize on second and even third scoring chances.

McGill set the game’s pace, leaving Concordia with the daunting task of trying to keep up. Thus, the Stingers played catch up, and never seemed to get into a consistent rhythm.

“It was horrible,” said head coach Keith Pruden, adding that the Stingers lacked physical intensity against the Martlets.

Pruden explained that Concordia has had a consistent problem this season of not being able to set up its offence. The Stingers shot 29.4 per cent from the field in the game, and were only 4 for 18 from behind the arc.

Shannah Ernest led the team with 15 points, and the team’s overall leading scorer Krystle Douglas added 11, including two 3-pointers.

Still, Concordia’s lack of offensive intensity carried over into Saturday’s game against Bishop’s, and contributed to another Stingers loss.

“[Bishop’s was] aggressive and they took it to us,” Pruden said. “They showed why they have two All-Canadians, maybe three, on their team.”

The Gaiters used a defensive press early in the first quarter, and seemed to catch the Stingers off guard. Bishop’s capitalized on Concordia turnovers and poor passes to immediately take an eight point lead.

“We knew they were going to press us, but we just weren’t up-tempo like they were,” said Stingers co-captain Stephanie Ramonas.

Pruden expressed his disappointment at how his team didn’t handle the pressure well. “The bottom line is that we got flustered early, and when that happens we stop playing offence,” he said.

Concordia’s defence was not much better, letting Bishop’s penetrate the key easily. This caused the Stingers to collapse defensively, and allowed Bishop’s to dish passes out to wide-open players around the perimeter. Bishop’s efficient ball movement and quick and precise shooting also frustrated Concordia.

Ramonas explained that it was difficult to get defensive rebounds, especially since many Concordia players lost track of where their player was, and didn’t box out.

“They out-hustled us on the boards. We were just a few steps behind them,” she said.

Ramonas scored 12 points and had five rebounds in the loss, while forward Melanie Larocque racked up 13 points for Concordia.

Both teams played aggressively, yet Bishop’s appeared controlled whereas Concordia seemed disorderly and confused.

“What Thursday was lacking was physical intensity. There was no lack of that [against Bishop’s]. Instead, we lacked real organization,” Pruden said.

Guard Krystle Douglas agreed. “We looked lost even though we knew what we were doing,” she said.

Douglas explained that the Stingers had practiced bringing the ball up offensively, but didn’t execute come game time. “No one was running their lanes correctly. And our shots weren’t falling either,” she said.

Pruden explained that Bishops’ many offensive rebounds were a result of Concordia miscommunications on defensive rotation. He also said that the Stingers were making bad decisions on the offensive end.

“We’ve been taking a lot of bad shots in the last few games. And when you take bad shots, you better hope they go in. If they don’t, no one’s in position to rebound because the defence isn’t broken down,” he explained.

Nonetheless, Pruden said that he remained optimistic that Concordia can bounce back from this recent losing streak, adding that the team’s rookies were making good progress.

“The problem is not so much individual improvement as it is our ability to stay focused collectively,” he said. “I understand that there’s still a lot of development to go yet.”

During the next two weeks, Concordia will be practicing at Loyola High School’s gym, in preparation for the upcoming Reebok Tournament on Dec. 29-31 at Concordia.

If the Stingers want to improve their current 1-4 record in the second half of the season, they will need to take better shots, play better defence and not give up so many offensive rebounds, Pruden explained.

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