MONTREAL, Que. – Four Martlets reached double figures in scoring as the No.4-ranked McGill University women’s basketball team waltzed to a 72-48 road victory against Concordia at the Loyola campus, Saturday.
It was McGill’s largest margin of victory over the Stingers in 11 meetings, since a 76-44 decision on Jan. 10, 2013. McGill, which has now won three straight over Concordia and 15 of the last 22 confrontations from their cross-town rivals, improved their division-leading record to 11-1 in the RSEQ conference.
The Martlets, who are ranked second among CIS teams in rebounds per game (44.5), had a 48-34 edge in that department.
Both teams came out of the gate firing in an explosive first quarter with McGill taking a 21-19 advantage. The Martlets continued their offensive onslaught in the second stanza, scoring 23 points while managing to hold Concordia to just seven points and take a healthy 44-26 lead into halftime. Following the break, McGill kept rolling and put up 14 in each of the final two frames while holding the Stingers to 13 and nine, respectively.
“We didn’t get off to a great start, trailing 7-2 early but settled down and had a really good first half, shooting around 64 per cent,” said McGill head coach Ryan Thorne, whose troops own the best defensive record in the CIS, allowing an average of 51.2 points per game. “We played well in transition, got some easy baskets and we just took off from there.
“I was very impressed with our defence, we did a really good job of forcing them into tough shots. We helped each other, our communication was good and our rotations were really good so I was really happy with the defensive side of things.”
Forward Mariam Sylla scored a game-high 18 points with an efficient 7-for-9 shooting performance from the floor and a 4-for-7 effort from the line. The 6-foot-1 pharmacology junior also contributed four rebounds, one assist and a blocked shot. She is now ranked fourth in the nation in rebounding, with an average of 10.4 per game.
Teammate Alex Kiss-Rusk, a third-year centre from Beaconsfield, Que., added 14 points. She made 4 of 11 shots from the floor, went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe and pulled down nine boards.
Carolann Cloutier, a 5-foot-9 guard who transferred last year from UMass, was lights out from downtown, scoring all 12 of her points from three-point range. Finally, Jennifer Silver, a sophomore forward from Montreal, continued with her strong play off the bench, collecting 11 points and six rebounds.
The game was a physical affair, featuring a combined 41 personal fouls and 50 trips to the free-throw line, where Concordia went 23-for-31, while McGill sank 15 of 19.
The Martlets shot 42.6 per cent from the field (26/61) and went 5-for-18 from three-point range. Concordia shot a dreadful 17.7 per cent from the floor (11/62) and went 3-for-23 from long distance.
For Concordia, Marilyse Roy-Viau of Mirabel, Que., and Kaylah Barrett of Brampton, Ont., were the only players in double-digits, draining 17 points apiece. Neither was very successful shooting from the floor but both did a masterful job getting to the foul-line. Roy-Viau only went for 4-for-15 from the field but was a stellar 8-for-9 from the stripe, while Barrett was 3-for-20 and 10-for-14, respectively.
The Stingers bench, which is only four players deep, was outscored 17-0 by McGill’s subs. Concordia did have an 18-14 edge in turnovers, including 11-4 on steals.
The Martlets, who have won 18 of their last 20 regular season games — and own a 61-15 league record over the past five seasons — will now have a week off before they travel to Lennoxville, Que., to battle the winless Bishop’s Gaiters (0-12) on Valentine’s Day. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m and scheduled to be streamed online at Gaiters TV.
Concordia (4-8) will make the same trip to Bishop’s but one night earlier, on Feb. 13.