On Oct. 23, the McGill Martlets (0–1) faced off against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (2–1) in their second game of the pre-season. Emerging from a loss to the University of Windsor Lancers, the Martlets failed to end their losing streak coming out of the long COVID-19-induced pause of the 2020-2021 athletic season.
Over 100 fans gathered to attend this tête-à-tête at the Love Competition Hall for what proved to be a poignant loss for McGill fans.
The game opened at a leisurely pace, with both teams playing a hyper-effective full court press, suffocating any attempts at coordinated offensive play. The Martlets only managed 11 points to the Gee-Gees’ 15 in the first quarter, on only 29.4 per cent shooting from the field.
The second quarter began much the same as the first, with minimal scoring chances for McGill and a never-ending wave of offensive drives to the paint by Ottawa. By the end of the quarter, McGill made only eight of their 38 attempts from three, and weren’t much better from inside the arc. First-year guard Emma-Jane Scotten was a bright spot amidst an otherwise fruitless quarter, making two of three three-pointers and ultimately leading the team to score 13 points, six rebounds, and two steals.
A quick three-pointer from Scotten and jump shot from Jessica Salanon heartened the largely uneasy McGill crowd for a fleeting moment like a beacon in the distance. But the Gee-Gees were quick to stamp out any spark of McGillian hope with an onslaught of defence and dominance in the paint. For the rest of the quarter, McGill kept pressure high, contesting every shot and guarding with enough tenacity to scrap up six turnovers. Their defensive efforts came up short, however, as the Gee-Gees continued to make shots. Headed into the final quarter of the game, the score stood at 47-27 in favour of the Gee-Gees.
While the 20-point lead seemed insurmountable in the final 10 minutes of play, the Martlets never relented on defence, and even had flashes of greatness from first-year forward Charlotte Guerin, who tallied eight points, seven rebounds, and six steals over the course of the game. In the final moments, Guerin did not let up, getting her final steal with 12 seconds left on the clock.
While a final score of 61-38 will leave many chalking the loss up to poor play by the Martlets, the developing team is only just spreading its wings. Under the direction of new head coach Rikki Bowles, the rookie-dominant roster has lots of potential to grow as they head into the regular season. While the team shot only 19.4 per cent from behind the arc this week, this won’t always be the case—as soon as the shots start falling, so will McGill’s opponents.
Guerin is optimistic about the future of the team and how they plan to approach their next game against Queen’s University on Oct. 30.
“I think Queen’s is on the same level as Ottawa, and I think that every week we really do get better,” Guerin said. “Every week we’ve played, we’ve gotten better against the next team. Hopefully by the time we get to the regular season we’ll be able to win consistently.”
First-year forward Charlotte Guerin earned a game high six steals with a suffocating defensive presence that was felt throughout the game.