Stingers’ forward Serena Tchida and guard Olivier Koumassou-Bernier were their team’s top scorers during last week’s home openers
On Nov. 10, the Stingers’ women’s and men’s basketball teams played their home openers in front of a nearly sold-out crowd against the Bishop’s Gaiters at the Concordia Gym.
The women’s team played first. Unable to match the Gaiters’ aggressiveness on the court, they were outscored in every quarter and ended with an 82-56 loss.
Head coach Tenicha Gittens said that her team’s loss was mostly due to their lack of toughness on the court. She also noted the Gaiters’ superiority in rebounds, as they had 45 rebounds compared to the Stingers’ 28.
“They’ve got 21 offensive rebounds and they converted on those second-chance opportunities,” said Gittens. “If you look back on our last game against UQAM, it’s the same thing: we lack toughness right now. Rebounding is a mindset, and you have to have grit, you have got to be tough, and you have to want it more than the other person.”
Stingers’ guard Areej Burgonio had the most assists on the team, with seven. Her teammate, Stingers’ forward Serena Tchida came out as her team’s top scorer with 18 points and led with 15 rebounds getting a double-double. She recorded no assists in the game.
“That’s what Serena can do,” said Gittens. “I knew that in the summertime, I knew that last year. Serena right now is battling fatigue and there are moments when she gets really tired. I can understand and not understand at the same time, but 18 points is a regular day at the office for Serena.”
“I can’t be the only scorer and Areej can’t be the only passer,” said Tchida who noted the same weaknesses in her team as the coach. “We have to work on team bonding because now we are lacking effort and rebounding is all about effort.”
After the women’s game, the men’s team quickly took the court. Until the very last quarter, the game was tight and both teams scored one after the other.
In the first quarter, the Gaiters had the upper hand with 12 points as opposed to the Stingers’ nine. Concordia caught up in the second quarter with 19 more points, while the Gaiters scored 15. The third quarter was tied with 22 more points scored, and the fourth quarter saw the Stingers gain ground over the Gaiters with a final score of 74-61.
“I don’t think we played well for the first three quarters,” said Stingers’ head coach Rastko Popovic. “We played more of their style of game than I would’ve liked. We weren’t under control, but the fourth quarter stood out to us on the offensive end because we made the right play every time, and defensively, the guys really stepped up.”
Stingers’ guard Olivier Koumassou-Bernier, who was named player of the game, scored 20 points total, 18 of which came from six three-pointers — a career-high for him.
“Olivier is such a hard worker,” emphasized Popovic. “He’s always in the gym working on his three-point shooting. I’m very proud of him tonight and I know how much work he puts in. I tell the guys all the time, if you put in the work, the results will follow.”
“We shoot well as a team,” added Koumassou-Bernier. “We had a lot of adjustments to do in terms of defence in the fourth period, but I’m pretty happy about the win. I’m happy about my own performance, but never satisfied.”
Popovic also mentioned that the win felt especially good as it was the home opener, and the stands were full of Stingers’ fans who cheered them on.
He also remains confident about his team’s abilities to win and progress in the future, but he is also careful about the team not getting too cocky.
“Yes, we are 2-0 right now, but I don’t want my guys to feel like we won a championship,” he said.
The team is now 3-0 after a 58-57 win against the McGill Redbirds on Sunday, Nov. 12.