The Martlets (7–9) faced off against the UQÀM Citadins (7–8) on Feb. 20, with the hopes of securing a third place finish in the RSEQ. The game ended in a loss for McGill, with a final score of 58–55.
At the end of the first quarter, UQÀM led, 17–14. There was a scary moment when, with four minutes left in the quarter, a Citadins player pushed McGill’s Sirah Diarra into teammate Kamsi Ogbudibe. Both players remained on the ground for a few minutes before they were escorted to the locker room. Fortunately, both returned in the second half. McGill bounced back to gain a nine-point lead in the second quarter, but UQÀM responded, and by halftime, the Citadins once again had the advantage with a 30–28 lead.
Despite six free throws off of UQÀM’s eight fouls in the third quarter and a three-pointer from fifth-year guard Geraldine Cabillo-Abante, the Martlets never regained the lead. They entered the final quarter trailing 49–43.
The battle remained close throughout the game. McGill remained behind by one with six minutes left in the final quarter. With one minute left, the home side was down 58–52, but a three-point shot from Cabillo-Abante gave the Martlets some momentum. UQÀM remained strong, however, and although McGill outscored them 12–9 in the final quarter, UQÀM held on, defeating the Martlets 58–55.
“When you [lose] a game, you just don’t want to talk about it,” Robitaille said.
Thorne emphasized that the team needed to improve their focus moving into the playoffs. The Martlets had 20 turnovers and 12 fouls, which cost them valuable points throughout the game.
“We [were not] disciplined, and the little mistakes that we made cost us,” Thorne said. “Today’s game came down to fight, came down to effort, came down to discipline, and we didn’t have those. I think tonight’s game was an important one, because we could have either ended up in third or finished in fourth, so it’s not like we were playing for nothing [….] Given that we were playing for something and that was the effort we came out with, that’s kind of disappointing.”
The Senior Night ceremony took place immediately after the game. McGill honoured Diarra, Cabillo-Abante, guard Gladys Hakizimana, forward Ruth Tshikudi-Tshila, and guard Stephanie Mondou. Each graduating player was presented with their framed jersey and flowers.
During the ceremony, Thorne discussed the impact that the seniors had on the program and the numerous obstacles each had overcome. For example, fifth-year guard Hakizimana endured two hip surgeries.
“Being a senior means that I have a leadership role on the team,” Hakizimana said. “I have to lead by example and [with] communication. It’s my last year to give everything I have to the program.”
When speaking about the impact the seniors had, Robitaille teared up.
“The seniors really mean a lot,” Robitaille said. “This is only my second year with them, but I feel bad. I know it’s only a game, but it’s Senior Night, and I think we didn’t play as well as we [could have].”
The Martlets face the first-place Laval in the RSEQ semifinal on Feb. 26 in Laval. Robitaille is excited for the challenge.
“We have four days to [prepare] for Laval,” Robitaille said. “They are number one, and it is going to be a really good game. We have to follow the game plan and [know] what we are going to do defensively and offensively, and just be ready.”
A semifinal win will move the Martlets on to the RSEQ Final on Feb. 29.
Moment of the Game
With less than four minutes left in the game, fifth-year transfer centre Sirah Diarra made a crucial block on UQÀM’s Inga Aleksaite to keep the game close, down 52–50.
“It’s my last year to give everything I have to the program and the team that I love, in order to not regret anything” – Gladys Hakizimana, on what being a senior on the Martlets means to her.
Fifth-year guard Geraldine Cabillo-Abante led the Martlets with 11 points. She made three three-pointers, had three rebounds, and three steals in her 32 minutes on the court.