Coming off an impressive 2014 season that culminated in an RSEQ Championship and a silver medal at the CIS National championships, the McGill Martlets swept the Redbird Classic with wins over Victoria Vikings, Thomas Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack, and Laurier Golden Hawks.
In the first game, Victoria hung around early, but a 20-point fourth quarter by the Martlets proved to be the difference, as McGill downed the Vikings 84-66. Third-year centre Alex Kiss-Rusk recorded a double-double off the bench, including a team-high 16-points. Point-guard Dianna Ros was hot from beyond the arc with 12 of her 13 points coming from three. McGill, however, dealt with turnover issues all game. They coughed the ball up 20 times, leading to 24 points off turnovers for the Vikes. But any fast break points conceded were more than made up for by the Martlets’ inside dominance. McGill out-rebounded Victoria 43-14, led by the high-flying senior forward Mariam Sylla.
The Martlets cleaned up their sloppy play in game two of the tournament, pummeling the TRU 79-55. The WolfPack jumped out to an early lead, but McGill shut it down after the first frame, outscoring TRU by 27 over the final three quarters. After a disappointing first game, Gladys Hakizimana found herself starting the game on the bench against the WolfPack. The first-year guard, however, responded by dropping a game-high 17 points on 78 per cent shooting when she came on. Overall, McGill’s stingy defence was too much to handle, as the Martlets held the WolfPack to a horrid 34 per cent shooting from the field.
McGill wrapped up the weekend with a commanding 82-55 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks. Sylla, former RSEQ Player-of-the-Year led the way for the Martlets, recording her first double-double of the pre-season with a game-high 18 points and 15 rebounds. Once again, McGill was overwhelming in the paint, registering 52 rebounds including 23 on the offensive glass.
The Martlets start the RSEQ season at home on Nov. 6 against the Laval Rouge et Or. They’ll certainly be RSEQ favourites in 2015-2016 after losing only one game last year. An undefeated season isn’t out of the question, but a CIS Championship would be even sweeter.
This pre-season, the Redmen basketball team proved that it is a force to be reckoned with, winning two of three games in Toronto in early October before sweeping a pair of games this weekend against the York Lions and Waterloo Warrions.
The Redmen came out firing in the first game last weekend, scoring 43 first-half points en route to an impressive 77-58 victory over the Lions. Junior point guard Jenning Leung led the way for McGill, registering 22-points, including 15 from beyond the arc. Leung has improved dramatically since taking over the starting point-guard job halfway through last season.
“Coming into the year I felt a lot more established,” Leung said. “That feeling has allowed me to focus […] on being more vocal.”
Game two marked Head Coach David DeAverio’s 100th victory behind the Redmen bench in a dismantling the Waterloo Warriors 108-56. Second-year shooting guard Jawara Pedican was red-hot, dropping a career-high 20 points, including 12 from distance. The victory impressed team captain Vincent Dufort, who filled the score sheet with 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
“We have a good mix of young talent and experienced players,” Dufort said. “We feel like this could be a special year for us.”
The Redmen head out to Ottawa for a three-game tournament on Oct. 30 before a pair of games south of the border against Loyola Maryland and Harvard on Nov. 5 and 7, respectively. Their regular season starts Nov. 14 against the Bishop’s Gaiters, the same team that knocked McGill out of the CIS Championships in last season’s RSEQ final.
“This is the most unselfish team I've ever played on. Any one of our guys can be the leading scorer on a given night.” – Vincent Dufort
Stat of the Tournament
The Redmen hit 24 three-pointers against York and Waterloo on 44 per cent shooting from deep.
Moment of the Tournament
Veteran point-guard Dianna Ros was named Tournament MVP after leading the Martlets to victory.