The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team took a quick and early lead against the Bishop Gaiters and never looked back, winning 66-40 in their home opener last Saturday afternoon.
The Stingers came flying out of the gate, taking a 5-0 lead 90 seconds into the game. After making it 6-0, Stingers point guard Ashley Clarke stole the ball from Gaiters guard Valerie Tremblay at centre court, leaving her alone for the easy basket, giving the Stingers an 8-0 lead just three minutes into the first quarter.
Concordia took a commanding 17-0 lead before the Gaiters got their first two points near the end of the quarter. The Stingers capped off a strong first quarter with a 20-2 lead.
Despite the Stingers coming out with such a big lead in the first quarter, head coach Kevin Pruden knew his team expected a closer second quarter.
“I expected us to slow down in the second quarter a little bit and we did. It’s really difficult to hold a team to no points in a quarter,” he said.
The Gaiters would score 13 points in the second quarter after scoring just two in the first. They started the quarter with four quick points, reducing the Stingers lead to 20-6. However, Clarke responded with a three-pointer, making it 23-6 for Concordia. The field goal was already Clarke’s 10th point of the game.
With the score 27-15 for Concordia with under two minutes to play in the second quarter, Stingers guard Cynthia Suissa doubled up Concordia’s lead. The Stingers added four more points to end the first half with a 34-15 lead.
Clarke scored her 11th and 12th point of the game on two successful free throws to give the Stingers a 36-15 lead early in the third quarter.
Halfway through the third quarter, Clarke picked up the rebound off Marilyse Roy-Viau’s three-point shot attempt, putting the Stingers up 47-21.
Gaiters forward Jenae Grayer picked up her team’s leading 10th point in the game, making the score 48-25 for the Stingers with just under three to go in the quarter. The Stingers held a 53-32 lead after three quarters, and had yet to fall behind.
Concordia would score the first two baskets of the final quarter, as guard Kaylah Barrett and centre Tina Mpondani each scored two points seconds apart, giving the Stingers a 57-34 lead.
Stingers guard Alex Boudreau’s three-pointer at the end of the game gave Concordia the 66-40 win. Clarke ended the game as the Stingers’ leading scorer with 16 points and she was named the team’s Most Valuable Player of the game.
“I’m much happier today with our effort than I was last week because we showed some energy, we played good defence throughout and we did a much better job executing offensively,” Pruden said. “It was good to see.”
After the loss against UQAM, Clarke said that “this game was huge for us, because now we got our confidence back.” “We came out more aggressive (this game). In our first game (against UQAM), our energy wasn’t there at all,” she added.
The Stingers held on to their lead in the fourth quarter in this game and were able to pull out a win, a big improvement from their season opener against UQAM on Nov. 6, where they blew a fourth quarter lead to lose 53-42 against the Citadins.