On Jan. 19, the McGill Martlets (4-3) basketball team faced the second-ranked team in the country, the Concordia Stingers (7-2). Unfortunately, the Martlets could not come out on top in their annual Shoot for the Cure game, part of a national fundraiser to help fight breast cancer. The Stingers, both more aggressive and more consistent in their efforts, emerged victorious 59-47.
McGill never led during the game, even once trailing by 21 points. The Martlet offence struggled despite fourth-year transfer centre Sirah Diarra’s 14 point contribution, including four three-pointers.
The Stingers came into the game with a higher intensity than the Martlets, eager to avenge their loss to McGill just two days prior on Jan. 17. That energy mismatch showed in the first quarter of action, as Concordia started on a 10-0 run over the first five minutes. Ultimately, the Stingers built a 13-point lead by the end of the quarter.
“When you beat number two in the country [Concordia], they’re gonna come back hungry,” Head Coach Ryan Thorne said. “We didn’t have the same hunger, and they showed why they are that [highly] ranked in the country. They’re a good team, well-coached, and they play with fire. We didn’t play with the same fire.”
Diarra agreed that both teams were definitely still feeling the effect of their earlier showdown.
“I think there was a lot of emotion from the game we played on Thursday, and it took us a minute to put our head in the game,” Diarra said. “Toward the end of the first quarter, we started to get ourselves together, and that’s when we started scoring and reducing the deficit.”
The Martlets picked up the pace in the second quarter and scored almost twice as much as they had in the first, yet the Stingers continued to dominate. Concordia’s lead reached 20 points halfway through the second quarter, due in part to McGill’s lack of aggression on defense. By the end of the game, the Stingers had a 38-27 edge in rebounds.
The third quarter saw more of the same, with McGill’s deficit hovering around 20 points throughout the frame. Even when two three-pointers from Diarra in two minutes gave the Martlets some momentum, the Stingers retaliated immediately to preserve their lead.
However, the Martlets did not give up easily. In the fourth quarter, some important defensive stands—notably a crowd-pleasing block by first-year forward Shayann Laguerre—helped the Martlets cut their deficit back to a mere nine points, with three minutes to play. Even with the strong Martlet effort, the Stingers held on to their lead and came away with a 59-47 victory.
Despite the loss, fourth-year guard Gladys Hakizimana felt confident in the team’s ability to gain some momentum and finish out the rest of their season strong.
“We need to communicate more and pay attention to the details from the start, so it doesn’t cost us in the end,” she said. “From there, we should be in a good position.”
The Martlets will try to bounce back from the tough loss with two consecutive games against the Bishop’s Gaiters (2-8), first on Jan. 24 at Love Competition Hall for Beach Night, then on Jan. 26 in Gaiters’ territory.
Moment of the Game
Shayann Laguerre showed her unrelenting spirit, blocking a Stingers’ attempt for the basket in the fourth quarter, giving hope to her teammates and to the McGill crowd when a come back still seemed possible.
“It’s a special game because we are all women, and it gives us a great opportunity to play for an important cause.” -Gladys Hakizimana on playing to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.
The Martlets came out cold, shooting a paltry 12.5 per cent from the field during the first quarter.