For McGill Martlet head coach Ryan Thorne, the sixth consecutive RSEQ women’s basketball championship was the most memorable of the them all.
“This is the sweetest,” he said after defeating the Concordia Stingers 63-51 in the title game this afternoon at the Pierre Charbonneau Centre. “I heard a lot of talk this year about us not being the same team, that we were not that good. I thought there were a lot of disrespectful comments.”
The Martlets silenced their detractors with a high-energy performance that earned them a berth in the U SPORTS Women’s Basketball Final 8 in Victoria, B.C. March 9-12.
McGill battled injuries through most of the season and ended up in second place in the RSEQ with a 9-7 win-loss record. But Thorne says they went into the playoffs healthy. It showed.
The Martlets came out and took an 11-0 lead before Concordia woke up and started fighting back.
“McGill was the team with the energy, the effort and the intensity,” said Concordia head coach Tenicha Gittens after the game. “They dictated the pace. Their energy was through the roof.”
The Martlets were up 11-5 after the first quarter and 26-18 at halftime. The Stingers held the lead,12-11, very briefly in the second quarter, but spent the rest of the game trying to catch up.
“If we were going to win, we had to fight for 40 minutes and we didn’t,” said Gittens.
Concordia’s Richelle Gregoire played 37 minutes and led her team with 21 points and seven rebounds She was named the Stingers’ player of the game.
McGill’s stats were more spread out. Alex Kiss-Rusk had 18 points and seven rebounds. Marie-Love Michel had 10 points and an amazing 15 rebounds. The player of the game honours went to Gladys Hakizimana who was good for 13 points and five rebounds.
Two Quebec teams have won seven consecutive conference championships: the Bishop’s Gaiters (1977-78 through 1983-84) and the Laval Rouge et Or (2004-05 to 2010-11). With a sixth straight title, McGill is knocking on the door.