Compared to the rest of the country, the QUBL is often looked upon as the middle child – always looking to impress the CIS and never quite good often as the other leagues. The Q is looking to gain some legitimacy but is often overlooked because there are only five teams.
It is a fair criticism that is compounded by the fact that the last time the QUBL won the national championship was in 1986, and by the repetitiveness of the league (each team faces one another four times). But if one looks at it from the glass-half-full perspective, playing in a small league means that each additional matchup becomes more intense as the season progresses. Teams know the style of play that they are going to face and can adjust accordingly. In the past five of six women's games, one went into overtime while the other four were decided by six points or fewer. These close games often build character, and who knows, maybe this will be the year that the middle child finally impresses the rest of the family.
1. McGill Martlets
After being dealt their first loss of the season last week, the Martlets came back and showed that they are still the team to beat. They let the Stingers back into the game in the second half on Friday, but showed an impressive overtime performance where they shut out the Stingers on a 12-0 run to win 72-60. Possibly the most impressive statistic of the night was the balance that this McGill offense had. Four players scored in double figures and Francoise Charest, the Martlets' point guard, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Anneth Him-Lazarenko also had her own double-double (17 and 10).
The Martlets continued their balanced offensive output when they scored a season-high 93 points against UQAM in their second game of the week. Their percentages were also a season high, going 53.3% from the field and 52.6% from beyond the arc (and 90.5% from the free throw line, their second-best so far). With two impressive wins, and a move up to 12th in RPI, it may be time for the Martlets to crack the Top 10 poll.
2. Laval Rouge et Or
The Rouge et Or have finally seemed to remember what it takes to win even though it ain’t pretty. Their last four games since coming back from the break have been decided by 10 points in total. Ironically, they lost to Bishop’s and Concordia, yet beat the two best teams in the league, UQAM and McGill. After beating McGill by four last week, Linda Marquis’s squad beat UQAM 64-63 after holding off a furious fourth quarter push: UQAM scored 14 unanswered points in four minutes. Laval, which let an inferior Bishop’s squad beat them a week ago due to a similar breakdown, were about to suffer a similar fate on Friday night but managed to protect a one point lead for the last two minutes of the game. The W wasn’t pretty, but it most certainly counts.
3. Concordia Stingers
The Stingers came oh-so-close to defeating the McGill Martlets on Friday night, losing 72-60 in overtime. The lopsided score doesn’t do Concordia justice, who came back strong in the second half of the game to overcome an 11-point McGill lead at halftime. However, the Stingers went 0-7 from the field in overtime, six shots of which were taken from beyond the arc. Their inability to score in overtime highlighted one of their main struggles: consistency.
4. UQAM Citadins
UQAM came one point shy of beating a surging Laval Rouge et Or team but couldn’t find the back of the basket for the last two minutes of the game. It was a great fourth quarter for them, only allowing seven Laval points while scoring 17 of their own. That one great quarter, however, wasn’t enough as their comeback was stopped in its tracks with two minutes left.
The next night they faced the Martlets and fared no better. Their defense completely disappeared – possibly an understatement – as they allowed the Martlets to score 93 points in what must have certainly been a humbling defeat. Their one silver lining was the play of Michelle Auger-Bellemare who went 8-13 from the floor and 9-9 from the charity stripe for 27 points. An embarrassing showing such as this one could be the wake-up call they need to spend more time on their defence.
5. Bishop’s Gaiters
The Gaiters had the week off and consequently find themselves back in last place with a 2-7 record. They'll have to step their game up come next week against Concordia and UQAM, two teams that are facing their own struggles. These are winnable games for the Gaiters as long as they crash the boards and show some toughness.