Stingers head to Prairies for must-win game

After losing in the RSEQ finals to McGill on Friday night, the Concordia women’s basketball team finds itself down, but not out.

Kaylah Barrett led Concordia by Bishop's but the Stingers fell to McGill later in the week. Photo by Navneet Pall

Given the format of CIS women’s basketball, Concordia will have an opportunity to play in a four-team consolation tournament going on in Saskatoon from March 9 to 10. Whichever team wins the two-game, single-elimination tournament earns a seed at the national championships in Calgary.

Concordia will be facing the University of Regina on Friday night and if they win, they will face the winner of the other semi-final game, either Brock or the University of Saskatchewan, in the finals. Concordia will be in tough however, as Regina was the No. 1 ranked team in the country, but was upset in the Canada West final against UBC.

If the Stingers run the table in the tournament, they will head to nationals in Calgary beginning on March 17. A loss sends Concordia home to reflect on a season that was perfect after six games, before an injury-filled, tumultuous second half began to derail the team.

Much like the regular season, the RSEQ playoffs were a roller-coaster ride for the Stingers.

Beginning last Tuesday night, Concordia was facing Bishop’s at Concordia’s gym.

The Gaiters jumped out to an early 24-7 lead after the first quarter, silencing the home crowd, and filling the gym with an uneasy tension amongst the Stinger faithful. It looked as though Concordia would be playing its final game of the season.

Then “the Kaylah Barrett Show” began. The league’s MVP took the team on her shoulders and led the Stingers back into the game.

Barrett scored 10 of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter. She was also a menace on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds in the game, six coming at the offensive end of the floor. Concordia outscored Bishop’s 20-7 in the frame and had retaken all the momentum and pulled to within three points at halftime.

Concordia would never look back. The Stingers amassed a nine-point lead by the end of the third quarter en route to the 65-53 victory.

Playing in the RSEQ finals on Friday in the home gym of crosstown rival McGill, it was a similar situation for Concordia. The Stingers once again found themselves down early, trailing 16-6 after the first quarter. Unlike against Bishop’s, though, the Stingers couldn’t make the same surge against the first-place Martlets.

Concordia went into halftime trailing by 14 and fell behind further in the third quarter. To the Stingers’ credit, they played hard until the very end, outscoring McGill 20-8 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late as McGill won the game 56-49 to clinch its first RSEQ championship since 1996, and secure a berth in the national championships.

Kaylah Barrett again led Concordia in scoring with 24 points. Natasha Raposo came off the bench and scored 13 points in just 17 minutes on the court.

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