MONTREAL – Alex Kiss-Rusk drained a game-winning jumper as time expired and the No.2-ranked McGill women’s basketball team rallied for a hard-fought 57-55 road win over UQAM at their Centre Sportif, Saturday.
It is believed to be the first time in team history that they won on a buzzer-beater.
The second-place Citadins, which had a chance to shake up the RSEQ standings and leap-frog over the division-leading Martlets this weekend with a back-to-back set against McGill, pulled off the upset on Thursday night in a double-overtime thriller at McGill but failed to complete the sweep on their own turf. McGill (9-1) is now four points up on the second-place Citadins (7-3) with six contests remaining before playoffs.
It was a frenzy of a finish that saw both teams exchange baskets down the stretch. After a UQAM timeout with 18 seconds remaining Sara Cabana drained a jumper to tie the game up 55-55 with four seconds left. McGill had the final answer, however, as Gabriela Hebert inbounded the ball to point-guard Dianna Ros, who swung it over to Kiss-Rusk for the winning basket on an elbow jumper just as time expired.
Kiss-Rusk, a 6-foot-4 centre from Beaconsfield, shot 7-for-12 from the floor and 1-for-2 from the foul-line. The cultural studies junior was also credited with nine rebounds, two blocks and two assists.
Jennifer Silver was the only other Martlet to reached double-digit figures. The Montreal native came off the bench to score 10 points along with four rebounds, a pair of steals, one assist and a blocked shot.
Mariam Sylla, a 6-foot-1 forward from Guinea, was just two points shy of another patented “double-double” posting eight points and 11 rebounds.
Lorna Desrameaux-Simon lead the way for the Citadins with 15 points. She added three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Queteline Celestin also reached double figures, putting up 14 points while dishing out six assists and snagging four rebounds.
These two teams battled right to the bitter end in a game that featured 12 lead changes; the largest being seven for either team. McGill had a slim 13-12 lead after the opening quarter until the Citadins used a strong second frame to take a 27-22 advantage into halftime. The Martlets re-focused during the break and outscored UQAM 18-10 in the third stanza to take a 40-37 lead into the final quarter.
“They were very aggressive, they’re tough and physical, while we were very passive and that created a lot of turnovers for them,” said Thorne. “The biggest thing (that made it so close) was that we were unable to capitalize on some of their players who were in foul trouble. Their big (player) was out of the lineup after getting three early fouls. That’s when they amped up the pressure and got a little more aggressive and we still were unable to capitalize there. It got close at the end and we should have been able to hold on better and not relax like we did.”
The game featured a plethora of turnovers as both teams combined for 53. McGill committed 31 miscues, nine of which were UQAM steals. The Citadins on the other hand coughed up 22 turnovers, including eight stolen balls by the Martlets.
McGill shot 37.3 per cent from the field (22/59), went 2-for-12 from three-point range and sank 11 of 17 from the line (64.7%). UQAM connected on 36.4 per cent from the floor (20/55) and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc.
The Martlets have a four-day break before hosting fourth-place Concordia (4-6) on Thursday (Feb.5) at 6.p.m. The next night, UQAM will try to get back in the win column when they travel to Lennoxville to take on last-place Bishop’s (0-10).
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