After ending the season on a winning note, the Stingers quickly bowed out of the playoffs following a 65-54 loss in the semi-final game against the UQAM Citadins this past Wednesday. Although it appeared that the Stingers were evenly matched coming into the game, since they only finished two points behind the Citadins in the regular season, nerves and a key injury made all the difference on the court.
“I thought it was 50/50. Either team could have won this game, but UQAM made their shots and we didn’t,” said head coach Keith Pruden. “We were nervous and I think it showed.”
Citadins head coach Jacques VerschuÃ¨re noted that they had taken the season series 3-1 but echoed Pruden’s thoughts on the game. “It’s always a close game against the Stingers,” said VerschuÃ¨re.
The Stingers were also missing a key component in their lineup. Veteran guard Kendra Carrie, who averaged 10.3 points and four rebounds a game, sat out while recovering from a concussion suffered earlier this season.
“It was pretty hard not playing tonight,” said Carrie. “It’s not exactly how I imagined my university career finishing.”
From the opening tip off UQAM applied pressure and built up a comfortable lead over the Stingers. About four minutes in the Stingers took an early timeout after falling behind 9-2 and missing easy points. The breather was not enough to calm the Stingers down, and the Citadins pulled further ahead while maintaining a strong defence. By the end of the first quarter, the Stingers were down 23-11.
The second quarter continued much like the last and the Stingers were unable to slow down the Citadins or sink shots in their own end. Pruden called another early timeout three minutes in after falling behind 27-13. The timeout seemed to work as the Stringers woke up offensively and began taking more shots but the team still had trouble turning chances into points. The Stingers closed out the half down 39-25.
The Citadins did not let up in the third quarter but the Stingers seemed to find some sort of defensive rhythm following a timeout two minutes in. Stinger guard Magalie Beaulieu showed strong defence as she stepped up the pressure on the Citadins ball carriers. Concordia also managed to pull down more rebounds in the offensive zone but could not capitalize on the points. The Citadins were sitting comfortably ahead 50-35 at the end of the third quarter.
With their playoff hopes on the line, the Stingers stepped up their offence and began putting points on the board in the fourth. The Citadins began taking fouls and the Stingers were given bonus free throws with about seven minutes left in the game. The extra opportunities at the free throw line and strong defensive play left the Stingers behind 58-53 with just under two minutes to play. But after a punishing three-point shot by Citadins forward Karine Boudrias, the Stingers were not able to come back.
The Stingers finished the game with only 30 per cent of their field goals finding the net but fared better at the free throw line with 58 per cent made.
“I guess we weren’t focused and we missed a lot,” said Stinger guard Yasmin Jean-Philippe. “All those missed shots probably cost us the game.”
Before the game, Jean-Philippe and Stinger guard Kaylah Barrett were honoured as all-stars in the Quebec conference this season. Barrett was selected as part of the first all-star team and rookie team, named the rookie of the year and as the defensive player of the year. Jean-Philippe was selected as part of the second all-star team.