MONTREAL — Carolann Cloutier of St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., scored a game-high 16 points as the No.4-ranked McGill women’s basketball team rallied from a poor start to finish up strong en route to a 63-56 victory over Laval, Friday.
The result, before more than 400 fans on graduating “seniors night” at Love Competition Hall, improved the division-leading Martlets to 15-1 as the RSEQ regular season came to a close. It marke the second-highest win total in school history for the Martlets, who have finished first for five consecutive seasons. The only other time that a Quebec team has had more wins was in 1996-97, with both McGill and Concordia ending up at 16-4 in an era when a lengthier schedule.was played.
The Rouge et Or ended up tied with Concordia for third place at 7-9 but ended up fourth on the tie-breaker as the Stingers has a slim 268-265 edge in point differential over the four games played against each other.
The end result is that McGill and Laval will meet in a sudden-death semifinal on March 5 in Lennoxville, Quebec, where Bishop’s will be hosting the RSEQ Final Four championship tournament.
Laval led 13-7 after the opening quarter before McGill began creeping back into the game. The Rouge et Or held the lead at halftime at 27-25 but McGill outscored the visitors 24-16 in the third quarter and 14-13 in the final stanza.
Cloutier, a 5-foot-9 guard who transferred from the NCAA’s UMass Minutemen last year, shot 7-for-12 from the floor, making two of six from three-point range. She played a game-high 29 minutes and was also credited with four assists and a steal.
As a result, Mariam Sylla, Alex Kiss-Rusk and Jennifer Silver, McGill’s top three big forwards, saw less court time and were held to six, eight and eight points, respectively. Sylla, however, collected a game-high 13 rebounds in 24 minutes of court-time. Rusk played 21 minutes and Silver 18.
“We started out really sloppy as there was a lot of emotion for our graduating players,” explained McGill head coach Ryan Thorne.
The only other player to reach double figures was Laval’s Raphaelle Cote with 12.
McGill shot a sub-par 31.9 per cent from the field (23/72), went 7-for-16 from the arc and dropped 10 of 14 from the line. Laval shot 28.4 (19/67), 31.6 (6/19) and 70.6 (12/17), respectively.
MARTLET MURMURS: Starting point-guard Dianna Ros, who only had threee points and three rebounds, was hampered by a facial mask that she was playing with for the second straight game. She suffered a broken nose after an errant elbow late in a 56-51 win over UQAM on Feb. 19… Laval head coach Linda Marquis, in her 30th and final season as bench boss before returing, was recognized by McGill officials in a pre-game ceremony. Marquis, who owns a lifetime record of 514 wins and 301 losses behind the bench for Laval, was a two-time all-star guard at Laval from 1977 to 1980 and after graduating, transferred to McGill, where she played two seasons for the Martlets (1981 to 1983), while completing a master’s degree in education. She led the Martlets in scoring both years and graduated as the team’s fourth-leading scorer at the time, with 1, 055 points in 69 games overall, for an average of 15.3 points per game. She shot an impressive 47 per cent from the field and 80 per cent from the free-throw line. She was a two-time all-star and a second-team all-Canadian while playing for the Martlets.
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