Mar 14, 2015
Photo credit Mathieu Belanger
QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – The most exciting game at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Women’s Basketball Final 8 tournament so far saw the McGill Martlets reach the final for the first time in school history by beating the UBC Thunderbirds 59-57 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at the PEPS Gym of Université Laval.
Both teams traded leads throughout in a hard-fought battle between the second- and third-ranked teams in the country. In a fitting end, it was the Martlets who hung on in the dying seconds to earn a chance at the national title.
In 10 trips to the national tournament, McGill has never done better than a bronze medal dating back to 1996. They become the first team from Quebec to reach a national final since the Laval Rouge et Or of 2002. On Sunday at 1 pm, the Martlets will certainly write history when they face the winner of the other semifinal matchup between the Saskatchewan Huskies and the Windsor Lancers in the CIS championship final.
“It was exciting, we were playing against a really disciplined team. It was like a heavyweight boxing match. We got up, they fought back, then they got up, we fought back. This is what happens when there are two really good teams out there,” said McGill head coach Ryan Thorne. “We fell asleep a few times and when you do that, a team well-coached and executing as good as UBC will make you pay for it. That’s what kind of got us into that overtime situation.”
The Thunderbirds will not have the opportunity to add to their six national titles. Canada West conference MVP Kris Young had a chance to tie it late, but her shot missed just short ending the Thunderbirds chances. UBC will now play for bronze on Sunday at 10 am against the loser of the day’s second semifinal between Saskatchewan and Windsor.
“It was a real tough, physical game for 45 minutes. It was a great, quality match for a semifinal, said T-Birds’ coach Deb Huband. “We struggled offensively, we turned the ball over twice as much as we normally do. We were poor from the free throw line and we had a little bit of an uncharacteristic performance out there. McGill is very deserving of the win.”
Defensive play dominated the first half of the opening semifinal matchup. Offence was so limited that after six minutes of play both team scored a combined five points. Kris Young once again led the way for the T-Birds with 9 of her team’s 11 first-quarter points. However, for every Young basket, the Martlets had a response and led after 12-11 after 10 minutes of play.
The match only intensified once the second quarter started, capped off midway through when McGill’s Carolann Cloutier put the Martlets up 22-17 with back-to-back threes. The Thunderbirds, however, weren’t to be outmatched climbing back into the game, and for the rest of the quarter shared lead changes with the Martlets. Heading into the break McGill led 27-26.
Out of the halftime UBC managed to put together the game’s first run, taking a six-point lead, the largest of the game for both teams. However, McGill showed its resilience erasing the deficit through the contribution of several players. Once the third quarter ended it was McGill up 42-40.
With the fourth quarter underway, the Thunderbirds once again managed to build up a six-point lead only for McGill to make it disappear once again. With under two minutes to play Martlets’ fourth-year guard Dianna Ros gave McGill the 53-50 lead following a successful steal by teammate Alexandria Kiss-Rusk. UBC’s Adrienne Parkin, however, played heroics with 1:30 to go as her three ball would be enough to send the game into overtime.
In OT much of the same from the first four quarters carried over. Both teams traded leads until Martlets forward Kiss-Rusk put her team up by two. After McGill’s Ros only made two of four from the line in the dying minutes, the Thunderbirds were given the chance to tie or win the game. Placing the ball in star guard Young’s hands, UBC failed to tie giving McGill a birth in the finals.
UBC 11-15-14-13: 57
Points: Dianna Ros (12), Jennifer Silver (8), Alex Kiss-Rusk (8)
Rebounds: Alex Kiss-Rusk (12), Mariam Sylla (10)
Assists: Dianna Ros (6)
Player of the game: Dianna Ros
Points: Harleen Sidhu (20), Kris Young (14), Adrienne Parkin (10)
Rebounds: Harleen Sidhu (9), Kris Young (9)
Assists: Kris Young (5)
Player of the game: Harleen Sidhu
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. 2 UBC 81, No. 7 Ryerson 59
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 1 Windsor 91, No. 8 Laval 57
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 4 Saskatchewan 70, No. 5 Alberta 63
Friday, March 13
18:00 Consolation 1: No. 7 Ryerson 76 vs. No. 6 Saint Mary’s 60
20:00 Consolation 2: No. 5 Alberta 62 vs. No. 8 Laval 50
Saturday, March 14
12:00 Semifinal 1: No. 3 McGill 59 vs. No. 2 UBC 57 (OT)
14:30 Semifinal 2: No. 1 Windsor vs. No. 4 Saskatchewan (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
16:30 5th-place game: No. 7 Ryerson vs. No. 5 Alberta (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
* The ENGLISH webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis. The French webcast is free.