The Concordia Stingers fell 51-48 in the RSEQ championship game against the McGill Martlets in a heartbreaking loss, despite their late comeback attempt in the fourth quarter on Saturday afternoon at McGill Gymnasium.
The Stingers came out strong early in the first quarter as they took a quick 8-4 lead. However, when the Martlets tied it up at 6:22, and then took their first lead 11-8 shortly after, McGill never looked back.
Stingers point guard Ashley Clarke’s two-points on a breakaway with 3:30 left in the first quarter cut the Martlet’s lead to 11-10.
One minute later, McGill forward Anneth Him-Lazarenko picked up a rebound off a missed basket to give them a 13-10 lead.
The Martlets lead 19-12 at the end of the first.
Lazarenko gave her team a 23-17 lead when she picked up another rebound for the two-point basket about halfway through the second quarter.
The Stingers replied with two quick baskets by Tamara Pinard-Devos and Tina Mpondani, respectively, making it 23-21 Martlets.
McGill finished the second quarter strong scoring nine-straight points. They had a 32-23 lead at the half.
Stingers point guard Arianne Duchesne three-pointer with 6:37 left in the third quarter, cut McGill’s lead to four points and put Concordia right back in the game. The Martlets finished the frame strong and took a 42-34 lead after three quarters.
Less than one minute into the fourth quarter, Stingers guard Kaylah Barrett received her fifth foul of the afternoon and was fouled out for the remainder of the game.
“I think [losing Barrett] hurt her more than it hurt anybody else,” said Concordia head coach Keith Pruden. “She’s such a competitor. It was painful for her; it was painful for the rest of the team. She’s a big chunk of our offence. But, it happens.”
With just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Stingers began their attempt at a comeback. For the first seven minutes of the frame, Concordia went on a 8-2 run, making it a two-possession game.
In the final minute, Concordia’s Marilyse Roy-Viau made it a three-point game. After an intentional foul to stop the clock, Roy-Viau scored once again to make it two-point lead with 17 seconds to play.
That’s as close as the Stingers would get. McGill narrowly won the game 51-48, and the title, in front of their home fans.
“We had trouble scoring,” Pruden said following the game. “We shot poorly from the three-point line. We didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor. And we were only five-for-11 on the free-throw line. Full credit to McGill for playing good defence.”
“I told my kids I’m very proud of how tough we were at the end,” he continued. “[But] you’ve got to make some shots. We missed the opportunities that we got. We lost because we couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
This capped off an impressive season from the Stingers, which saw them break into the CIS Top 10 ranking earlier this season. This is the second consecutive season Concordia falls to the Martlets in the RSEQ Championship game.