Fresh off a late season surge that vaulted them into the postseason, the Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team was unable to keep their momentum going, losing to the UQAM Citadins 77-67.
UQAM turned in a strong first half, jumping out to an early 21-8 advantage and leading the Stingers by as much as twenty points in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
The Citadins were led by strong inside play from 6’1′ starting centre Cora Duval, who contributed eleven points and six rebounds in the first half of the game as her teammates shot a blistering 63 per cent from the field.
“We were extremely frustrated in the first quarter.they were on fire,” said Concordia head coach Keith Pruden regarding the Citadins sinking 65 per cent of their first quarter shots.
Concordia could not muster any offensive consistency, turning over the ball at key moments and allowing space for the Citadin to crowd the boards and refuse the Stingers any second chances at the net.
“They had a good defence, I’ll give them that,” said point guard Krystle Douglas, who finished with a team-high eleven points in the game. “Our gameplan was to penetrate the ball inside and pitch it out and we didn’t do that enough.”
UQAM, meanwhile, continued to go to their bread and butter players, as Duvall continued to draw fouls and collect offensive boards.
In the rare times she was successfully defended, Duvall was able to successfully get the ball out to teammates Claudia Theoret or Irline Noel, who scored eleven and twelve points respectively to give UQAM a comfortable 49-31 lead at halftime.
In the second half Concordia began right where they left off, missing a field goal and turning the ball over to the Citadins, who kept up their own pace by going immediately back to Duvall, who drew another foul and sunk both free throws for a 51-31 lead.
The rest of the quarter saw more dominant play from the CItadins, who increased their lead up to 29 points before the Stingers were able to bite into the lead somewhat and make it 66-45 at the start of the final quarter.
With the game in the hands of the Citadins, the Stingers still fought to get the score tightened up. Guard Yasmin Jean-Philippe opened the quarter with a three ball and both Douglas and veteran forward Stephanie Ramonas went down with injuries while fighting for rebounds, though each ended up finishing the game.
“We played them tough in the second half, but when you fall behind like that in a playoff game you are in a difficult situation,” said Pruden.
Douglas finished the game with 13 points. Duval, UQAM’s key player in the game, contributed to her team’s vostory by sinking 19 shots and grabbing 12 rebounds. Her teammate Claudia Theoret finished with 19 points to go with seven of eleven shots made to seal the victory.
With a 77-67 defeat in their first playoff game since 2004, the Stingers remain optimistic about the accomplishments they achieved this year, most notably winning eight of their last eleven games following the Christmas break in order to qualify for the playoffs.
“By the end of the year we were really meshing together as a team,” said veteran forward Kristin Portwine. “It didn’t reflect in this game but hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone and come out strongly next year.”
Prior to the game, the 2007-2008 Quebec Student Sports Federation’s All Star team was announced to the spectators. Among Concordia’s representatives were Douglas, who made the 1st team, as well as forward Chelsea Cassidy and Jean-Philippe, who each made the 2nd team.