The trend of games coming down to the wire in the QUBL continued this week, where two of the three games were decided by one possession. Playoffs are fast approaching and teams in the Q are fighting for home-court advantage and a chance to raise the QUBL banner.
However, the teams in the Q are not just hoping to win their conference for the pride of that banner, but for financial reasons as well. With Canada West hosting the second-place QUBL team in the West Regional this year, that means that the the qualifying team has to travel to the west in order to compete for berth at nationals--which themselves happen to be a 10-hour bus ride from la belle province, in Windsor.
This week's power rankings:
1. McGill Martlets
The Martlets have been outscored in the second half in the past three of four games and are making a habit of relying on last second antics to seal a win. Their win against the Rouge et Or on Friday saw them give up 24 in the fourth quarter (and scoring only seven) as an 18-point fourth-quarter lead dissipated into thin air. With the game tied and two seconds left to play, Marie-Eve Martin drained her sixth three-pointer of the game at the buzzer to give McGill the 62-59 win. That brings Martin’s season total to a league-leading 31 threes while also averaging the best three-point percentage with a sizzling 40.1%. Marie-Eve Martin’s outside shooting, paired with Anneth Him-Lazarenko’s inside presence is one of the reasons why the Martlets have been so successful this season. Their win against the Rouge et Or brings their record to 9-1 as they sit comfortably in first place.
2. UQAM Citadins
The Citadins faced the Bishop’s Gaiters this week, a matchup that saw seven lead changes in the fourth quarter and a thrilling 64-63 win for UQAM. The hero of the night proved to be Karine Boudrias who gave UQAM the go-ahead basket with eight seconds to go. The player of the game however, went to Emie Simard who scored 20 points in 16 minutes of game time. UQAM made some good adjustments going into the second half by being more aggressive and pounding the ball inside. After attempting no free throws in the first half, the second half saw them attack the basket, go 11-15 from the line, and take advantage of the rebounding issues that have plagued Bishop’s for the duration of the season. They face the Stingers next week in what is turning out to be a battle for second place.
3. Concordia Stingers
The Stingers took care of business this week, defeating the Gaiters 76-53 and playing solid basketball for 40 minutes. One of the more impressive statistics coming out of this Stingers team is the number of steals they average per game, 14.1. They had 20 in their game against Bishop's and have four players who average at least two steals per game (all league-leaders). The Stingers are athletic and versatile but still make poor decisions on the offensive end, shooting a league-worst 34.8% from the field. Concordia will have to shoot better next week as they face the Citadins, whom they have yet to beat all season.
4. Laval Rouge et Or
You have to feel for the Rouge et Or. Ever since coming back from winter break, all their games have been decided by four points or less. During that stretch they’ve gone 2-3 and only find themselves one game ahead of Bishop’s in the standings. It’s clear that Laval has come back a better team in the second half, but they might still miss the playoffs for the first time in a very long time (10+ seasons). They put together a spirited fourth quarter push against the Martlets, as mentioned above, but it proved all for naught as they lost 62-59. Turnovers continue to plague the Rouge et Or, who committed 27 of them to McGill’s 17. They face the Gaiters next week in what is shaping up to be a must-win for both teams to keep their playoff hopes alive.
5. Bishop’s Gaiters
The Gaiters played two games at home this week, going 0-2 and bringing their record to 2-9. They were outplayed by the Stingers on Thursday night, losing 53-76. They let the Stingers dominate the offensive boards, giving them 20 in their own end on a night where they only had eight (though they pulled even defensively to keep the total rebounding margin at 12 in Concordia's favour). Weak offensive rebounding, combined with the fact that they committed 27 turnovers, means that the Gaiters never had a chance to make it a game. Their second game of the week saw them lose by one against UQAM even though they only collected 36 boards to UQAMs 56. The Gaiters had the last possession of the game but couldn’t find the back of the basket as time expired. The Gaiters have 5 games left in the season and face the Rouge et Or twice in that span. The final playoff spot will come down to those two matchups – the first one of which is February 5th at Laval benefitting the Shoot for the Cure campaign.