The Stingers had a tough first half, trailing 35-24 midway through the game. The team allowed key three-point baskets, and seemed lost on the court. However, they came back strong in the second half, controlling the ball for most of the remaining time.
Head coach Tenicha Gittens said that her halftime talks with the players shook them off. She said she told her team that they had to finish the right way.
“You can just go out there and [just kind of play], or go out there and make it hard for them to compete,” Gittens said. “They went out there and played their heart out.”
Despite not having any impact on the rest of their Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season, Gittens was pleased to see her players show up the way they did against the Rouge et Or.
“We obviously knew it had nothing to do in terms of playoff hopes, but it still did in terms of going out there and competing [until the end],” Gittens said. “It gives our fans something to look forward to coming into the next season, and even us for the coaches and players.”
Gittens added she’s still proud of her team despite not finishing with the same result as last season, where they went to nationals.
“I don’t think I had one player who was 100 per cent healthy [this season],” Gittens said. “I always want more out of them, so as a coach you’re never really satisfied. Yet, overall, they showed a lot of [effort and character].”
The Stingers finish the 2019-20 season in last place of their division with a 4-12 record.
The Stingers men’s basketball team finished their 2019-20 RSEQ season with a convincing 92-68 win over the Université de Laval Rouge et Or, also on Saturday afternoon at Concordia Gym.
It was the fourth and final regular season contest between the two teams. The Stingers had won the previous three games, with two of them having been decided by only five points.
After scoring 15 points and leading by just two points after the first quarter, the Stingers got their offence going, almost doubling their offensive production from the first 10 minutes in the next two quarters. That good stretch, along with their good defensive play helped the Stingers to take a serious lead early in the game.
“We know what the Rouge et Or will do, so it’s about us [being positioned and everything],” said forward Olivier Simon. “I think we just need to follow our defensive game plan. When we are winning just by five points, it’s because we did something wrong.”
Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic said the team’s defence was better today than it was in games they won by just a few points, including those two against the Rouge et Or earlier this season. He said the roster available for the game also helped.
“This is the first game we play with our full roster since [early January],” Popovic said. “We’ve had all twelve players playing today, so it was a good team win in order to get ready for the playoffs.”
The Stingers will play their RSEQ semifinal game against the Bishop’s University Gaiters this Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at Concordia Gym. The teams each won two of the four head-to-head battles this season, with the Gaiters winning the most recent two.
Photos by Alex Hutchins