A look at the fourth-year forward’s passion for the sport of basketball
If you attend a Stingers women’s basketball game, it would be hard to miss fourth-year forward, Marilyse Roy-Viau. When she is on the court, she plays with an aggressive edge and is always in the middle of the action. Last season, Roy-Viau was named as an RSEQ all–star after leading the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec in scoring.
Roy-Viau started playing basketball when she was in the third-grade after her gym teacher taught her the rules of the game.
“I was just playing outside by myself, shooting around when my gym teacher happened to come outside and ask if I wanted to play basketball,” Roy-Viau said. “I knew my brother was on the team but I had no idea that there was a team for girls.”
She admits that her favourite memory from this time was the adrenaline of running back and forth on the court.
Roy-Viau is studying leisure sciences at Concordia and is always trying to balance her school work and with basketball. For Roy-Viau school always comes first.
“The workload in the program is not as much as other programs,” Roy-Viau said. “But I organized myself to have only three classes per semester so that I can focus on my classes.”
Her favourite place to do her school work is at the athletics complex at the Loyola campus because the women’s basketball team has its own study room.
On the court, Roy-Viau is known across the province as one of the most competitive players in the league. Her aggressive style of play started during her days at Dawson College.
“When you are in college, you all have the same goal, which is to win a championship,” Roy-Viau said. “Since that was my overall goal, that’s when I became competitive.”
Despite her tough demeanor on the court, Roy-Viau’s off-court personality is much different.
“A lot of people that I’ve played against have said that I was the meanest thing ever,” Roy-Viau said. “Now that they know me, they say that I’m the sweetest thing ever.”
Over the last three seasons, the Stingers have lost a few talented players. This includes two-time RSEQ MVP and All-Canadian guard Kaylah Barrett who retired last year. Another key player was point guard Ashley Clarke who graduated two years ago. Both players still make regular appearances at Stingers games and they have both influenced Roy-Viau’s game.
“Both players were talented on the court and being able to play with them was fun,” Roy-Viau said. “We are actually really good friends. It was fun to be around people that want to have fun and win.”
This season, Roy-Viau is third in RSEQ scoring and is currently averaging 14 points per a game. She has scored 210 points in 15 games this season.
In April, the Stingers parted ways with coach Keith Pruden who led the team for 20 years. In July, the Stingers hired Tenicha Gittens, which according to Roy-Viau, has ignited more passion in the team.
“With Keith, we were just going with the flow and being relaxed,” Roy-Viau said. “Now with coach Gittens, we are more explosive, energetic and passionate in practice and games.”
Gittens’ coaching style has transformed Roy-Viau into the the type of player she is today.
“I was just playing like I was comfortable,” said Roy-Viau. “[Gittens] pushed me out of my comfort zone which is a challenge even today when the season is almost over.”
For Roy-Viau, this season has been a journey.
“Personally it has been up and down and I need to be more consistent,” Roy-Viau said. “I’m pretty satisfied with this new beginning.”
Throughout her career, Roy-Viau has won many awards from being named to the CIS all-rookie team to being named an RSEQ all-star the last three years. For Roy-Viau, there are a couple of milestones missing.
“It’s just a bonus but I have not won an RSEQ championship so I’m never satisfied,” said Roy-Viau. “I just wanted to be a champion.”
And that means taking home a national championship.
“I’ve won a lot of provincials, a lot of awards, a lot games however I have not won the biggest game yet,” Roy-Viau said.
In the first round of the playoffs this year, the Stingers will be playing the McGill Martlets, where Roy-Viau will get the chance to accomplish what she has yet to do.
“[Beating] McGill on their home court would mean everything to me,” Roy-Viau said.
The Stingers have played the Martlets tight all season. The last time the two teams met at McGill, the Martlets won 72-70 in overtime.
“We always play good when we are at McGill, I don’t know why—maybe it’s the gym or the ambiance,” said Roy-Viau. “We always look forward to going into their gym and beating them because we know we can.”
Roy-Viau has one more year left of CIS eligibility but she has not decided if she will turn pro or not. For her, it all depends on how healthy she can keep her body.
“Right now I’m playing in my fourth year and I’m 24 years-old. [Sometimes] I can barely walk after one game,” Roy-Viau said. “[However going pro] would be a dream.”