Concordia-McGill rivalry renewed in playoffs

Women’s basketball, hockey teams faced Martlets in postseason action

The Concordia-McGill rivalry is one of the best in university sports, but it takes on another level when the two schools meet in the playoffs. That was exactly the case this season for both the women’s hockey and basketball teams in their respective Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-finals.

The Stingers only won two of seven games versus McGill in women’s hockey this season. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Stingers women’s hockey team hadn’t beaten McGill in five previous playoff series. Their bad results against their cross-town rivals continued this year, losing in two games. McGill is now 12-0 against Concordia in the playoffs since the Stingers won the 2005 final in three games.

The women’s basketball team has had the same misfortune against the Martlets. Before this year’s playoff match-up, they hadn’t beaten McGill in the playoffs since 2002, losing in 2016 and 2017. This year’s team turned history around and beat the Martlets in the RSEQ semi-final, 62-55, at the Concordia Gym on Feb. 27. They also ended McGill’s seven-year run as provincial champions.

“All of us just wanted to dethrone them, as bad as that sounds,” said third-year guard Caroline Task after the game. “It was time for someone else to take the lead, so I think we went into this knowing this is what we wanted to do.”

It was a tightly-contested game, typical of the Concordia-McGill rivalry in any sport, with a loud and energetic crowd. The Stingers had a 10-point lead in the second quarter, and the Martlets responded well, leading by eight points in the fourth. That’s when the Stingers crowd got behind their team as Concordia scored 19 points in the last five minutes.

“Obviously there are a bit of butterflies in your stomach when you’re down with the time going down,” Task said. “Not for a second I didn’t think we wouldn’t pick it up.”

The rivalry takes on a whole new level each year at the Corey Cup. Photo by Hannah Ewen.
Missed opportunity

On the men’s side of basketball and hockey, there were no Concordia-McGill playoff meetings this year. McGill’s men’s basketball team lost in their semi-final, which would have set up a final against Concordia. In hockey, the Stingers met the Queen’s Gaels in the first round of the playoffs, but should have played McGill.

According to U Sports hockey insider Victor Findlay, the Gaels dressed an ineligible player in their final game of the season. The Ontario University Athletics Association only sanctioned them after their series against Concordia started, deducting them a point. Originally, the Gaels finished third, and McGill in fourth, but because of the loss of points, McGill jumped into the third seed. They would have played the sixth-placed Stingers if the issue had been dealt with earlier.

This could have set up a fantastic series between the schools. “It’s fun to play,” said rookie defenceman Bradley Lalonde after the Corey Cup on Feb. 2. “[The Ed Meagher arena] is kind of smaller, so when you get a lot of people, there’s a lot of noise.”

Stingers captain Philippe Hudon has seen it all from the rivalry during his five years at Concordia. “It’s an old rivalry, and these kind of games speak for themselves,” he said after the Corey Cup. “There should be more exposure to this kind of game, it’s fun hockey and the rivalry is tremendous.”

Fans will get another taste of the Concordia-McGill rivalry when the football season kicks off in September.

With files from Simon Prud’homme. Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers end Martlets title run in semi-final win

Concordia scores 19 points in final five minutes to move onto to RSEQ final

The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team ended the McGill Martlets title run in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final. They won 62-55 at the Concordia Gym Wednesday night, ending McGill’s seven-year run as champions.

The Stingers missed the playoffs last year with a 4-12 record, and get to play in the final this year. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

After domination in the first quarter that gave the Stingers a 19-9 lead, they saw the Martlets coming back in the second quarter. The score was 30-29 for Concordia at halftime, and the Martlets took the lead in the third quarter. Concordia trailed behind and were losing by eight with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Stingers went on a 19-4 run to close out the game and get the win.

“I thought they showed a lot of character,” said head coach Tenicha Gittens, who was happy with her team’s performance. “When you are down seven points, it’s easy to just get down but we came back […]. You can get tired but you won’t be playing tomorrow. You can be tired next month.”

Gittens added that defence kept them in the game in the second half, allowing only 26 points. “Offensively, [the shots] were not falling,” Gittens said. “Our girls did a good job adjusting during the fourth quarter.

A team filled with rookies, this was the first playoff experience for most of them. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Gittens also saw leadership from guards Caroline Task and forward Coralie Dumont when it mattered. Dumont played 39 of 40 minutes, collecting nine rebounds and scoring eight points. Rookie guard Myriam Leclerc also played 39 minutes, and had the most points in the game with 28.

“We never gave up,” Task said. “We had ups and downs, everybody played their part in the game.”

The Stingers will play the Université de Laval Rouge et Or on Saturday in Quebec City in the RSEQ final. The 15-1 Rouge et Or beat Concordia all four times this season, but only won by two points in their last meeting on Feb. 21.

“They won it last time but we’ll win it when it matters,” Task said about the final. “I am really excited. We played them last week and we fell short by two points and that means nothing. We know what we need to do to win the next game.”

The Stingers return to the final after losing to McGill in 2017. Laval will be looking to avenge their loss at last year’s finals, also against the Martlets.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.


WNBA wage gap: playing for passion, not money

Highest NBA salary 561 times the average female player

In 2018, the average NBA player made an annual salary of just over $7.1 million, according to Sporting Intelligence. The average WNBA salary is a fraction of that total, at just over $71,000, according to Forbes.

Incredibly, both of these salaries pale in comparison to the NBA supermax deals implemented after the 2017 season. This rule allowed three-time NBA Champion and two-time MVP Stephen Curry to sign an enormous five-year, $201 million deal. That’s an average of $40.2 million per year, nearly six times the average NBA salary and 561 times the average WNBA salary. Do these supermax deals exist for female superstars?

Sylvia Fowles, the 2017 WNBA MVP, made $109,000, while her MVP male counterpart, Russell Westbrook, made $28.5 million. These salary increases have prompted many women from the WNBA to speak out on social media about the wage gap.

The gap between male and female wages has been a long-standing debate, but is there a true solution? In the entertainment and sports world, it’s not about what you perceive you are worth, but what you can leverage through negotiations. The value of a sports league only increases if it is consumed by the public. Since the WNBA started play in 1997, attendance has steadily decreased. From 2017 to 2018, the league attendance went down by 13 per cent. How does this harsh reality affect the women whose passions exist in the world of sports?

Third-year and fifth-year Concordia Stingers guards Caroline Task and Aurélie d’Anjou Drouin believe the WNBA players made comments about the wage gap because of the NBA’s supermax deals.

“If a girl wants to go pro here and make a living out of it, you have to go play in Europe; you can’t even stay in North America,” Task said. “I think it has a huge impact on girls wanting to go pro.”

For female athletes, choosing to pursue a professional career is risky, with a chance of not making it. Even if they do, the pay could be minimal. But that won’t stop Task.

“Personally, if I had the chance obviously, I would go pro for a few years, but that’s where it comes in,” Task said. “You have to love the game that much more to sacrifice the career to play for little to no money.”

Despite her love for the game, d’Anjou Drouin expressed a different point of view. “There’s so many job opportunities here. I already have my job for next year, and it’s probably twice as much money as I would make playing basketball,” she said.

Despite their different points of view, they can both agree on the fact that at the university level at Concordia, they feel equally supported as the men.

“I think Concordia does a really good job of advertising all the games—there’s never preferential treatment,” Task said.

D’Anjou Drouin also made a suggestion on how to increase WNBA attendance. “I think that the way it works here in university is an idea that maybe could be brought to professional levels,” d’Anjou Drouin said. “Maybe if they do doubleheaders like they do at Concordia, maybe it would bring more NBA fans to the women’s games.”

Currently seven WNBA teams are in the same city as an NBA counterpart.

To accommodate this possible change, the WNBA season schedule, which plays from May to September, would have to coincide with the NBA, whose schedule runs from October to April, and has 48 extra games.

However, with the NBA players publicly supporting the WNBA through social media and attendance, this could prompt NBA fans to give the WNBA a chance. Whether the league continues to grow or not, it’s clear that the love of the game is still what drives both men and women to continue to play, regardless of financial incentives.

Graphic by @spooky_soda


Stingers basketball teams dominate Gaiters in home opener

Aurélie d’Anjou Drouin, Ricardo Monge finish as leading scorers in their games

The Concordia Stingers men’s and women’s basketball teams opened up the regular season at home on Nov. 9, and both came away with wins against the Bishop’s Gaiters. The women won 82-59, and the men won 88-71.

Women’s basketball

The women’s team set the tone for a winning season this year. It was a tight first quarter, ending with the Stingers up 19-18, but that was the last time the score was close. Guards Caroline Task and Aurélie d’Anjou Drouin got off to very hot starts, both scoring early and often. Task finished the game with 26 points, and d’Anjou Drouin scored 30 points.

On the other end of the court, the team’s defence was ferocious, forcing the Gaiters into a total of 20 turnovers. Forward Ashley Moss led the way on the defensive end, finishing the game with 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

By the end of the first half, the Stingers were up 45-40. Task and d’Anjou Drouin continued their strong performances in the third quarter, and were able to stretch the lead to as much as 36 points. The Stingers ended up beating the Gaiters by a score of 82-59.

Guard Caroline Task looks for an in-bound pass in the Stingers home-opener on Nov. 9. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

It felt good to come out with a bang,” said Task after the game. “We trained all summer, and it’s good to see hard work pay off.” When asked about her individual performance, she kept it simple: “My shot was dropping, and I had a lot of energy.”

In addition to her 26 points, Task had two rebounds, three assists and four steals. Along with d’Anjou Drouin, Jazlin Barker was the third guard to hit double digits with 13 points. It was an all-around dominant performance for the women’s team, one they can build on moving forward.


Men’s basketball

The first half of the men’s game was a dogfight, with the Stingers and Gaiters matching each other on every possession. It was a gritty, low-scoring half which ended tied at 33.

In the second half, the Stingers really kicked into gear. Midway through the third quarter, they began putting tremendous pressure on the Gaiters, creating steals and defending their basket to generate blocks. Six of Bishop’s 15 turnovers came in the third quarter alone.

The Stingers defensive pressure led to the play of the game, when Concordia forward Ken Beaulieu soared to catch an alley-oop pass from guard Nicholas Noble, and threw it down for a reckless slam dunk. This put the Stingers up by 12, and seemed to kill whatever drive the Gaiters had left.
The dynamic defensive play by the Stingers guards is what sparked their offence. Guard Ricardo Monge played a very efficient game offensively, as he went 3/4 in three-point shooting, and finished with a team-leading 23 points. Guard Jonathan Koud scored 19 points coming off the bench, and was a nightmare for Gaiters defenders, using his speed to attack the rim. Stingers forward Olivier Simon and Noble each scored 10 points.
The Stingers men’s and women’s teams will be going on the road to take on the Laval Rouge et Or on Nov. 12.

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