MONTREAL – Mariam Sylla posted a “double-double” with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds as the No.4-ranked McGill women’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 60-48 road win over UQAM at the Centre Sportif, Thursday.
It was the eighth straight win over for the Martlets over their cross-town rivals, dating back to a UQAM 70-65 conquest in overtime on Nov. 17, 2012. The win improved McGill’s record to 2-0 in the RSEQ conference and 6-1 versus CIS opponents overall.
The Citadins, who had an impressive 63-59 road win against Laval in their opener last week, came out strong and matched McGill step-for-step in the opening quarter to find themselves only down 14-13. The Martlets however, took control in the second stanza and increased their lead to 29-20 at halftime. The momentum carried over after the intermission as McGill outscoring the Citadins 19-11 in the third to take a 48-31 margin into the final quarter.
Sylla, a 6-foot-1 centre from Guinea, shot an impressive 8-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the foul-line. The pharmacology junior also snagged five of her 13 rebounds under the offensive boards.
“We ran the floor well and played good inside out basketball,” said McGill head coach Ryan Thorne. “We weren’t consistent for the full 40 minutes, but had strong play from Mariam and Jennifer Silver inside. Defensively we followed out game plan and limited their opportunities. Still a lot of work to do, but we are learning to win.”
Silver, a sophomore forward, was the only other Martlet to reach double-digits in scoring. The native Montrealer came off the bench to add 14 points and four rebounds. She also had a hot night shooting with a 7-for-8 performance from the field.
Six-foot-four centre Alex Kiss-Rusk, McGill’s other “big”, came off the bench to add eight points — off a 4-for-9 shooting performance — and grabbed six rebounds.
Leading the way for the Citadins was Queteline Celestin with 15 points, while Jessica Lubin also reached double figures, scoring 10.
The Martlets had a massive advantage on the glass, out-rebounding UQAM by a 52-28 margin. This helped to make up for an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers by the reigning RSEQ champs. The Citadins did a slightly better job protecting the ball, coughing it up only 17 times.
McGill shot 43.9 per cent from the field (25/57) but struggled from both downtown and at the foul-line, shooting 1-for-14 from the arc (7.1%) and dropping 9 of 14 from the stripe (64.3%). UQAM connected on 31.7 per cent from the floor (19/60), went 2-for-7 from three-point range and 8-for-12 from the line.
The Martlets now have a nine-day break before hosting cross-town rival Concordia (1-1) on Nov. 22 at 6.p.m. UQAM (1-1) will get a two-week break before facing the same Stingers squad on the road Nov. 27.