Despite trouncing the Concordia Stingers (2-8) 64-49 last Thursday, the McGill Martlets (7-1) barely beat their rivals Saturday, winning 72-70 in a nail-biting overtime performance.
McGill—sporting pink uniforms in honour of Pink Weekend, where the team aims to raise money for breast cancer research—fell six points behind Concordia in the first quarter. A quick race to regain their lead before the end of the first half followed, with the scoreboard showing 26-25 for McGill at the buzzer. The rest of the game consisted of back-and-forth action between the two teams, leading to an edgy and high-fouling second half as tensions heightened; the Martlets seemed uncharacteristically uneasy as the match progressed.
“We’ve got to be more disciplined and understand what we’re looking for,” Head Coach Ryan Thorne said on the team’s shaky performance. “I think sometimes when there are pressure situations it becomes frantic, and they just run around, and are uncertain, and will give [the ball] to anybody.”
Before this weekend, the Martlets have had to get by without two of their top players: Senior point guard Dianna Ros, who is out with an ankle injury, and senior forward Marian Sylla, who only just got back onto the court after a week absence due to a leg injury.
“[Ros has] been out for a couple weeks,” said Thorne. “[Sylla] hasn’t played for a couple games either; she didn’t play last Saturday and she didn’t play Thursday. We’re just reintegrating her into the whole thing […] limiting her minutes, just making sure she gets back okay.”
Sylla spent only 18 minutes on the court, but made efficient use of her playing time, putting up 10 points. Meanwhile, junior centre and former NCAA player Alex Kiss-Rusk took control of the game, scoring 28 points for the Martlets, a game-high.
“Right now Alex is dominating, but the last two games where you see the real domination she’s playing against smaller post players,” Thorne explained. “Starting next weekend she gets in against some post players who are more her size, so we’ll be able to gauge that better once we see it.”
Despite recent injuries, the Martlets have maintained strong control over the top of the RSEQ, only losing once this season to UQÀM (6-2). While Sylla and Ros’ injuries have undoubtedly hurt the team’s stats the past few games, their maintained dominance over the RSEQ is good news for the team’s future.
“The good thing is we’re winning games without [Sylla and Ros], so that’s positive,” Thorne said. “I think [freshman guard] Gladys Hakizimana played a really good game today, she did a really good job offensively[….] I was happy with the overall team play.”
“It was a great opportunity. That’s just a great cause, so for us to do something like that we wanted to make it a little special [….] The girls just loved it. It was an honour to do something like that.” — Head Coach Ryan Thorne on filming an ad in preparation for Pink Weekend.
The Martlets out-rebounded the Stingers 45-16.
Play of the Game
With time winding down at the end of the fourth quarter and the scores tied, Stingers senior forward Marilyse Roy-Viau drove to the basket for a chance to win the game. Fortunately for the Martlets, her layup did not fall.