U Sports Basketball: Stingers set to take on Montreal rivals McGill

Last season both the men’s and women’s Concordia Stingers teams made it to nationals. The men qualified as RSEQ champions, and the women as a wildcard team. So far, both teams have had up and down RSEQ seasons. The men’s team currently sits third in the RSEQ with a 4-3 record, while the women are fourth with a 3-4 record. The Stingers next two games are a home-and-home series with McGill.

Stingers vs Martlets Preview:

The Stingers and Martlets are currently in a battle for the fourth, and final, RSEQ playoff spot. The Stingers are in fourth with a 3-4 record while the Martlets sit in fifth-place with 3-7 record. The Martlets are on the verge of missing the postseason for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. This is only the second time that these two schools have met this year. In their first meeting, the Martlets narrowly won 58-55.

Photo courtesy of “The Link Newspaper”

Will the Martlets be able to guard the Stingers duo of Caroline Task and Myriam Leclerc?

Stingers’ fourth- year guard, Caroline Task, enters this week’s games following an impressive 26 point and four rebound performance in a 71-54 win over the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) Citadins last Saturday. She is third in RSEQ scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game, and has scored 99 points on the season. In November’s matchup against McGill in November, Task had 16 points and five rebounds.

Second-year point-guard, Myriam Leclerc, has also stood out for the Stingers. Leclerc scored six points and 11 assists in Concordia’s win over the Citadins last week. Leclerc also had 16 points and four rebounds against the Martlets in November.

The Stingers dynamic duo may meet their match this weekend against the Martlets, who enter the weekend with one of the stronger defences in the conference. So far, their defence ranks third in the RSEQ having held their opposition to 58.0 points per game, and 580 points total over ten games.

Rebounding will be important:

McGill’s rebounding has been a key component of their game this season, and might make the difference in this weekend’s matchup. They average 34.9 offensive rebounds per game, and on the other side of the ball, the Martlets average 33.4 defensive rebounds, making them second best in the RSEQ.

On the other hand, the Stingers enter the game averaging only 30.9 offensive rebounds, which is last in the RSEQ. Defensively, the Stingers average 38.6 rebounds.

The Martlets will depend heavily on fifth-year center, Sirah Diarra. Diarra is third in RSEQ rebounding and has 78 rebounds over ten games.

Can Concordia’s defense contain the Martlets?:

The Stingers enter the game as an easy target to be scored, allowing 64.7 points and 15.3 turnovers per game which is the worst among all RSEQ schools. That being said, fourth-year forward Nikita Telesford is a bright spot on Concordia’s defense, making up 10 of the team’s 20 blocks. The Martlets, however, have struggled offensively and do not have a single player on the RSEQ’s scoring leaderboard. They have averaged 48.6 points a game which is last in the conference.

Stingers Men’s vs McGill:

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Photo courtesy of Concordia Athletics

The Stingers enter the matchup against McGill with a record of 4-3; third in RSEQ standings. McGill is first in the conference with a record of 8-2. In their first and only meeting, McGill earned a comfortable 99-70 win.

Stingers defense could be the key:

The Stingers allow the fewest points against per game in the RSEQ with an average of 74.1. The Stingers also lead the conference in field goal % with .401. The Stingers also average 15.6 turnovers per game. They also have 181 defensive rebounds and 46 steals. McGill, on the other hand, is heading into the game with the best scoring in RSEQ as they average 84.7 points per game.

The Stingers will need to figure out a way to guard McGill’s third-year guard, Jamal Mayali, the likely RSEQ MVP. Mayali currently leads RSEQ scoring with 18.9 points a game, and three-pointers with 22. He also has 50 rebounds on the season. In the previous Concordia-McGill matchup, he drained 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win.

Stinger’s Oliver Simon will need a big game:

Fourth-year forward Oliver Simon has been one of the best players on the Stingers this season. Simon was uncharacteristically quiet in the Stingers 78-74 lost against UQAM Citadins last Saturday night as he was held to just 6 points and three rebounds. Simon is averaging 15.1 points a game for a total of 106 in seven games. He is also averaging 7.4 rebounds a game, good enough for fourth in conference. Simon had 11 points along with five rebounds in his first meeting against McGill.

The game will likely be win in the post:

The Stingers will have to win the battle in the trenches in order to win this weekend. McGill averages 31.2 defensive rebounds a game, while the Stingers narrowly edge them out with 32.3.

McGill is second in offensive rebounds as they average 36.0 per game while the Stingers average 33.1. All told, there should be some good action in the post between two solid teams.

Saturday’s two games are special ones as McGill is hosting its annual Shoot for the Cure event. Shoot for the Cure is a fundraiser for Canada Cancer Society (CSS) that all U Sports schools take a part. Last year, U Sports presented a check of $76,632.82 to CSS at national championship.

Since the fundraiser started in 2007, U Sports has raised over $1,102,689.18 for CSS.

Cover Photo: https://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/stingers-69-mcgill-61-concordia-mens-basketball-capture-lengvari-cup.