CIS w.BASKETBALL FINAL 8: Sylla soars, Pandas snore, as McGill finishes fifth at tourney

Gabriela Hebert (13), Mariam Sylla (15) and Francoise Charest (8)

McGill’s Gabriella Hebert (left), Mariam Sylla (centre) and Francoise Charest (right)

Box Score
WINDSOR, Ont. – Mariam Sylla scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down a team-best seven rebounds as fourth-seeded McGill defeated No.7 Alberta 70-56 at the CIS women’s basketball Final Eight tournament, presented by ArcelorMittal Dofasco, at the St. Denis Centre, Sunday.
McGill, which completed their season with a 21-5 record against CIS opponents, finished fifth for the second straight year.
Sylla, a 6-foot-1 all-Canadian centre from Guinea, went 8-for-13 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the foul line in 28 minutes of court time. The pharmacology sophomore reached double figures in scoring during all three games over the weekend, with a combined 56 points, to go along with 32 rebounds.

“Every team wants to finish the season with a win, so we’re very pleased with the result,” said Ryan Thorne, in his 11th season as head coach at McGill. “Obviously, we would have loved to have this kind of performance in the first round on Friday. But I’m very proud of the way the girls kept their heads up high after a tough loss and the way they responded the last two days. They showed a lot of character and showed what a proud basketball program we have at McGill.”

A total of four players reached double-digits on the scoreboard for McGill, who pulled away in the fourth quarter by holding the Canada West bronze-medallists to single digits in the final 10 minutes of the contest.
Alberta finishes sixth at their first CIS national championship appearance in four seasons. The Pandas won a bronze medal in their last Final 8 outing in 2009. Saskia VanGinhoven led Alberta with 15 points while Jessilyn Fairbanks tallied 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Carlyon began the game with a lay-up while taking a foul from Sylla. The Dapp, Alta. native converted her free-throw, but a three from Hélène Bibeau evened the game after two minutes of play.
Fairbanks and Sally Hiller each picked up five points in the opening 10 minutes, but the Martlets responded by going 9-of-15 in the first quarter, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc to take a three-point lead into the second.
The RSEQ champions strung together an 11-3 run through the first five minutes of the next quarter to spread their advantage into double-digits. However, the Pandas answered with a 7-0 run late in the first half with Fairbanks acting as the catalyst. The Edmonton product followed a jumper by sinking both her free-throws, and finished with a team-best nine points at the half.
McGill shot an impressive 50.0% in the opening two quarters and carried a 40-33 lead into the break. Sylla led all players with 10 points in the first half.
The squads exchanged three-pointers to open the third quarter. Fairbanks jumped on a McGill pass to pick up a steal and laid a pass to Maddie Rogers in transition. VanGinhoven then found Carylon in the low post for a lay-up.
The Edmonton native picked up a fast-break lay-up off a McGill turnover, but Sylla answered to help the Martlets maintain their first-half lead. The all-Canadian from Conakry, Guinea grabbed another basket, but VanGinhoven converted a three-point play as the Pandas went on a mini run to close the third to come within four heading into the final quarter.
Hillier sank a three-point jumper to begin the fourth, but two more free throws from Sylla pushed the Martlet lead back up to five. McGill looked to put the game away midway through the fourth with a 7-0 run that included a long-range basket from Francoise Charest.
McGill finished the game with a solid 43.9% shooting efficiency compared to 38.5% from the Pandas. Alberta garnered 35 total rebounds while McGill picked up 30.


Boxscore: STATS
McG 24-16-12-18: 70
ALB 21-12-15-8: 56


Points: Mariam Sylla (21), Françoise Charest (10), Hélène Bibeau (10), Marie-Pier Bastrach (10)
Rebounds: Mariam Sylla (7), Hélène Bibeau (6)
Assists: Dianna Ros (7)
Player of the game: Mariam Sylla
Points: Saskia VanGinhoven (15), Jessilyn Fairbanks (12)
Rebounds: Jessilyn Fairbanks (10), Andria Carlyon (7)
Assists: Jessilyn Fairbanks (6)

Friday, March 14

13:00 Quarter-final 1: Saint Mary’s 71, Alberta 51
15:00 Quarter-final 2: Saskatchewan 61, Queen’s 52
18:00 Quarter-final 3: Windsor 81, Wilfrid Laurier 53
20:00 Quarter-final 4: Fraser Valley 74, McGill 60

Saturday, March 15

10:00 Consolation 1: Alberta 67, Queen’s 55
12:00 Consolation 2: McGill 58, Wilfrid Laurier 51
15:00 Semifinal 1: Saint Mary’s 67, Saskatchewan 54
17:00 Semifinal 2: Windsor 65, Fraser Valley 45

Sunday, March 16

15:00 5th Place: McGill 70, Alberta 56
17:00 Bronze: No. 3 Saskatchewan vs. No. 5 Fraser Valley ( 
20:00 Final: No. 2 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 1 Windsor (Sportsnet 360 / *) 
* The webcast of all 3 televised games (semifinals & final) will be on pay-per-view basis.

Earl Zukerman
Communications Officer
Athletics & Recreation
McGill University
514-398-7012 (Tel.)