Mar 12, 2015
Photo credit Mathieu Belanger
QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – The McGill Martlets took advantage of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 1,000 kids Thursday afternoon at the PEPS Gym of University Laval to defeat the Saint Mary’s Huskies 67-59 in the opening game of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Women’s Basketball Final 8
The third-ranked Martlets had to repel a late surge from the Huskies in order to reach the semifinals of the CIS Championship for the first time since 1996 when the program managed a bronze medal. It will in fact be the first appearance of an RSEQ team in a CIS semifinal since the Laval Rouge et Or in 2008. McGill will now face the winner of the UBC Thunderbirds and Ryerson Rams quarterfinal matchup.
Martlets head coach Ryan Thorne had good words for game MVP. “Gabriela Hebert offered a huge performance. She took advantage of her scoring opportunities with her shot and went in to rebound. That’s what she is supposed to do,” he said.
As for Saint Mary’s, the finalists from last year can now not expect anything higher than fifth place. The Huskies will face the loser of the UBC-Ryerson quarterfinal.
Huskies’s bench boss Scott Munro talked about the pace imposed by the RSEQ champions in the second half. “They hurt us in the third quarter by completing several shots,” he said. “Twenty-five points in the third quarter, it was too much for us, we could not maintain their pace. We were not able to stop them,” said Munro.
The start of the first quarter saw both teams struggle with nerves, neither team finding its rhythm offensively. Once settled, it was the hot three-point shooting of Saint Mary’s trio of Laura Langille, Alexandra Smye and Emma Valikoski who gave the Huskies an 11-7 lead. Not wanting to give the Huskies the first quarter lead, McGill responded just before the break with two quick transition baskets. After 10 minutes of play both teams were locked at 11-11.
Having played a tight first quarter both teams piled on the points in the second. The AUS champions Huskies were the first to attack forging a seven-point lead, once again thanks to the hot three-point shooting of Langille and third-year guard Angelina Carvery.
Down by seven, McGill wouldn’t let the game slip away. Led by guard Dianna Ros, McGill closed the gap and eventually took the lead 24-22 on a Ros three-pointer. At the half, the Martlets were ahead 30-26.
Out of the halftime the score remained tight for much of the third until McGill managed to pull ahead through a solid defensive effort. The Martlets were able to force the Huskies into several turnovers including an intercepted pass by Ros, which lead to an easy basket for Mariam Sylla and a 49-41 lead.
The Huskies offense could not seem to get anything going as McGill continued its strong defensive play capped off by a monstrous block by second-year centre Alexandra Kiss-Rusk. Guard Gabriela Hebert was able to extend McGill’s lead to 55-42 with her three-point shooting.
At the start of the fourth quarter, McGill’s Carolann Cloutier gave the Martlets a 60-42 advantage and it seemed McGill was on their way to an easy victory. The Huskies, however, made things interesting late following 13 straight points to close the gap to 60-55.
In the end, as was the case throughout the game, the Huskies’s free-throw shooting killed any chances of a comeback. The Huskies only managed to make 10 of 21 from the line most notably when first-year forward Shanieka Wood missed four of six attempts in the last two minutes.
McGill’s player of the game, fourth-year guard Hebert, put the game away scoring five of her 19 points in the final minute capping off a 67-59 victory.
McGill 11-19-25-12: 67
SMU 11-15-16-17: 59
Points: Gabriela Hebert (19), Mariam Sylla (12), Dianna Ros (10)
Rebounds: Gabriela Hebert (12), Mariam Sylla (11)
Assists: Dianna Ros (7)
Player of the game: Gabriela Hebert
Points: Angelina Carvery (21), Laura Langille (18), Kennisha-Shanice Lub (6)
Rebounds: Laura Langille (6), Kennisha-Shanice Lub (5)
Assists: Kennisha-Shanice Lub (4)
Player of the game: Angelina Carvery
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, March 12
12:30 Quarter-final 1: No. 3 McGill 67, No. 6 Saint Mary’s 59
14:30 Quarter-final 2: No. 7 Ryerson vs. No. 2 UBC (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 8 Laval vs. No. 1 Windsor (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 5 Alberta vs. No. 4 Saskatchewan (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 14
12:00 Semifinal 1: McGill vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
14:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
16:30 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
* The ENGLISH webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis. The French webcast is free.