Stingers rookies Marilyse Roy-Viau and Kaylah Barrett led the offense as Concordia survived a late collapse to earn a victory against the Laval Rouge et Or in a close home game on Thursday night.
The game started with both teams exchanging baskets early on. Concordia would grab its first lead when guard Alex Boudreau dribbled past the Rouge et Or defense at six minutes to put the Stingers up 9-7.
Barrett widened her team’s lead as she stole the ball from Rouge et Or guard Elyse Jobin to score a basket on a breakaway a few minutes later. Barrett ended the quarter on a good note, as her layup basket in the dying seconds gave Concordia a narrow 19-16 lead.
Barrett and Roy-Viau each had a strong opening quarter. Barrett finished the frame with 10 points, four of which came from the free-throw line. Roy-Viau finished the quarter with seven points. She hit a three-pointer early and added four points from the line. The Stingers took advantage of the Rouge et Or’s undisciplined defence by making all eight of their free-throws.
The Rouge et Or didn’t waste time regaining the lead in the second quarter. The visitors went on a 7-0 scoring run to lead 23-19 after the first two minutes. Laval was able to hold onto this lead until the half, when they were up 34-29.
“The first half wasn’t so good [for us],” said Concordia point guard Ashley Clarke. “We were just chipping up shots and we were making bad decisions on offense. Overall on offense, we were a little chaotic in the first half.”
The Stingers’ strong second half was the difference in this game. In the first minute of the third quarter, after she scored a three-pointer to close the Rouge et Or’s lead to 34-32, Roy-Viau tied the game up with two successful free-throw attempts.
The Stingers reclaimed the lead at 7:51 when Roy-Viau scored yet another free-throw to make it 35-34 Stingers, and the team never looked back.
With the Stingers up 45-40 with less than a minute to go in the third quarter, forward Richelle Gregoire was able to pick up her own missed basket to score two points on the rebound. Concordia had a seven-point lead at the end of three quarters.
The fourth quarter was a rollercoaster ride. With just under five minutes left, after Barrett scored a three-pointer to put Concordia up 59-49, the Rouge et Or began their short-lived comeback.
Laval responded by going on a nine-point scoring run. With one minute left in the game, the Stingers suddenly found themselves up by just one point, 59-58. Concordia closed out the game by adding five points for the 64-58 win.
“We were okay [tonight],” said Stingers head coach Keith Pruden. “There were times we looked very, very good but the goal is to play [consistently] for 40 minutes; not five minutes on, five minutes off.”
“I feel we need to come more together as a team,” Clarke said. “We need to be able to get the momentum back. [Basketball] is a momentum game. As soon as they get momentum, it’s their game and as soon as we get momentum it’s our game. So, we always want to try to keep that momentum.”
On Saturday evening, the Stingers travelled to Bishop’s to face the Gaiters. Concordia won the game 63-42. Gregoire, Clarke, Roy-Viau and Barrett all scored over 10 points in the 21-point victory. Concordia now has a perfect 3-0 record to start the season.
This week, Concordia will return home to face the McGill Martlets on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Concordia Gymnasium. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.