MONTREAL – Mariam Sylla of the McGill University women’s basketball team, has been voted conference player of the year, for the second straight season, to highlight the major award winners and league all-stars announced by the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec.
It marks the 10th time in McGill history that a member of the Martlets has won League MVP honours, an award that has only been won by five different McGill players (see list below), the first three of which have inducted to the McGill Sports Hall of Fame.
The awards will be handed out at the RSEQ Final Four league championship tournament, which opens on Thursday in Lennoxville, Que., with top-seeded McGill (15-1) meeting fourth-seeded Laval (7-9) in a sudden-death semifinal at 6 p.m. followed by an 8 pm semifinal featuring second-seeded UQAM (11-5) and third-seeded Concordia (7-9). All games will be streamed live on the Bishop’s Gaiters website.
Sylla, a 6-foot-1 forward who hails from Conakry, Guinea, was the only player from the division-leading Martlets named to the first all-star squad in voting conducted by the league’s five head coaches. Teammates Dianna Ros and Jennnifer Silver, both natives of Montreal, were named to the second dream team, while McGill bench boss Ryan Thorne merited coach-of-the-year honours for the second consecutive year and fifth time in 12 years.
McGill also placed freshman guard Marika Guerin of Sorel, Que., on the conference’s all-rookie team.
Sylla posted a league-leading six “double-doubles” to finish fifth among RSEQ scoring leaders with 12.4 points per game and led the conference with 10.8 rebounds per game, which ranked fourth in the nation. She was first in both offensive (4.1 avg) and defensive rebounds (6.8 avg), third in field-goal shooting (.430), fourth in free-throw percentage (.768) and fourth in blocked shots, with 12 in 16 games. The 22-year-old pharmacology junior was voted CIS rookie of the year during her freshman campaign in 2012-13 and honoured last fall by Governor-General David Johnston as one of the CIS Top Eight Academic All-Canadians.
Ros, a 5-foot-7 point-guard, led the conference in assists with 66 in 16 games and had the best assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. The 23-year-old physical therapy senior was ninth among league leaders in three-pointers made with 13, connecting on 23.6 per cent of her attempts. She averaged 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and ranked second on the team in free-throw shooting with a lofty .808 success rate.
Silver, a 5-foot-11 forward, led the league in field-goal shooting (.472) and was seventh in blocked shots with eight. The 21-year-old pre-med sophomore shot 78.4 per cent from the free-throw line and averaged 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Guerin, a 5-foot-4 point-guard, averaged 4.8 points and shot 33.8 per cent from the floor. She was third on the team in three-point shooting, with a 34.6 success rate and connected on 68.2 per cent of her free-throws. The 20-year-old kinesiology freshman averaged 20 minutes of playing time per game, collected 23 assists, 17 steals and a pair of blocked shots.
Thorne, a 41-year-old resident of Ile-Bizard, Que., who was raised in suburban Pierrefonds and LaSalle, Que., led his troops to a fifth consecutive first-place finish in the Quebec conference with a 15-1 record, with their only loss coming at the hands of second-place UQAM, a 76-71 setback in double overtime. This season, his Martlets boasted the league’s top offence (65.0 ppg) and defence in the nation, alowing a stingy 50.5 per game. McGill also ranked second in the nation with 14.4 rebounds. Now in his 12th season on the McGill sideline, Thorne enters the 2015 playoffs with a 176-164 overall record (.518) in 340 career games behind the McGill bench, including a 101-91 mark (.526) in 193 regular season contests and an 11-10 record in 21 post-season games.
Other major award winners included UQAM Citadins guard Quételine Celestin (defensive player of the year) in addition to three Laval teammates, namely Jane Gagné (rookie of the year), Raphaëlle Côté (leadership and community service) and Catherine Bélanger-Paquet (overcoming adversity). Also, referee Michel Savard was named official of the year.
2014-15 RSEQ ALL-STARS AND MAJOR WARD WINNERS
Position, Name, University, Field of Study, Hometown
Forward, Mariam Sylla, McGill, Pharmacology, Conakry Guinea
Point guard, Quételine Célestin, UQAM, Cayenne, France
Forward, Marilyse Roy-Viau, Concordia, Leisure Science, Mirabel, Que.
Center, Jessica Lubin, UQAM, Undeclared major, Montréal, Que.
Forward, Jane Gagné, Laval, Chemical Engineering, Chicoutimi, Que.
Guard, Dianna Ros, McGill, Science (Physical Therapy), Montréal, Que.
Guard, Kaylah Barrett, Concordia, Human Relations, Brampton, Ont.
Guard, Sarah-Jane Marois, Laval, Public affairs & International relations, Québec City, Que.
Forward, Jennifer Silver, McGill, Science (Medical Preparatory), Montréal, Que.
Guard, Edith Noblecilla Varela, Bishop’s, Business, Ecuador
Forward, Jane Gagné, Laval, Chemical Engineering, Chicoutimi Que.
Guard, Sarah-Jane Marois, Laval, Public affairs & International relations, Québec Que.
Guard, Marika Guerin, McGill, Kinesiology, Sorel, Que.
Guard, Noemie Hamel-Petit, Bishop’s, Psychology, Magog, Que.
Point-guard, Bianca Marois, UQAM, Kinésiologie, Trois-Rivières Que.
Player of the Year: Mariam Sylla, McGill, Forward, Pharmacology, Conakry, Guinea
Rookie of the Year: Jane Gagné, Laval, Forward, Chemical Engineering, Chicoutimi Que.
Defensive Player of the Year: Quételine Célestin, UQAM, Point-guard, Business, Cayenne, France
Sylvia Sweeney Award Nominee: (leadership): Raphaëlle Côté, Laval, Forward,Psychology, Maria, Que.
Tracy MacLeod Award Nominee (overcoming adversity): Catherine Bélanger-Paquet, Laval, Forward, Law, Québec City, Que.
Coach of the Year: Ryan Thorne, McGill, Pierrefonds, Que.
Official of the Year: Michel Savard
McGill Martlets to win Conference Player of the Year
1988-89 Tina Fasone
1992-93 Vicky Tessier
1993-94 Vicky Tessier
1994-95 Vicky Tessier
1995-96 Vicky Tessier
1996-97 Vicky Tessier
1997-98 Anne Gildenhuys
2010-11 Anneth Him-Lazarenko
2013-14 Mariam Sylla
2014-15 Mariam Sylla
McGill Sports Info Office