The Bishop’s Gaiters were officially eliminated from playoff contention this weekend after suffering two consecutive one point losses to the Martlets and the Rouge et Or. This marks the first time they’ll miss the playoffs since the 2001-2002 season, giving way for Laval to sneak through with a 5-10 record.
1. Laval Rouge et Or
After suffering through some late game troubles throughout the year, the Rouge et Or staged an impressive comeback against the Gaiters by outscoring them 28-15 in the fourth quarter. Their 69-68 win means that they have clinched fourth place and will face the Martlets in the first round of the playoffs. Marie-Michelle Genois, last year’s conference MVP and in her final year of eligibility, was clearly playing with a chip a on her shoulder as her last regular season game quickly approaches. She had 29 points on 10-14 shooting along with 2 steals, 3 blocks, and 3 assists. She also had 9 turnovers, a number which is far too high but ignored when it comes on the heels of a big win. Sandrine Ducruc, usually a player that does little on the offensive end, exploded for a season-high 17 points.
Laval also played the Citadins this week, losing 65-61. Their 5-10 record means that they have more losses this season than in the past two combined (24-8). They’ll play the Martlets on March 2nd at Love Competition Hall, a team that they have had moderate success against. If there’s potential for an upset, it’s the Rouge et Or that can deliver during the semi-finals.
2. McGill Martlets
The Martlets played two games this week, defeating the Gaiters in overtime and easily defeating the Concordia Stingers. Françoise Charest, McGill’s starting point guard, did not play in either game. Her absence was clearly felt as McGill committed 28 turnovers per game, both season highs. There were whispers of McGill losing purposely so that they could face the Gaiters in the first round of the playoffs, but Head Coach Ryan Thorne showed that he had enough respect for the game not to do that. The Gaiters game came down to the wire as Natalie Larocque sealed the win with an and-1 late in overtime.
Larocque continued to fill the shoes of injured Françoise Charest against the Stingers, scoring 25 points, grabbing 10 boards, and dishing out 4 assists. It was McGill’s defence in the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the game as they held the Stingers to six points. The 77-56 win means that McGill improves their record to 13-2 and remain undefeated when playing at home.
3. UQAM Citadins
The Citadins got a big 65-61 win against Laval, bringing them one step closer to clinching second place in the QUBL. UQAM took the lead late in the second quarter and never looked back as they overcame a 3 point performance from their leading scorer Michelle Auger-Bellemare. UQAM relied on Jessica Bibeau-Côté who scored 18 and Irline Noel who scored a season-high 14. Bibeau-Côté seems to be peaking at the right time for the Citadins - she’s averaged a little less than 15 per game over the last three. With the win, UQAM can finish no worse than third, and will face Concordia in the semifinal.
4. Concordia Stingers
The Stingers couldn’t overcome a 24-6 first quarter deficit against the Martlets as they saw their record drop to 8-7. Concordia didn't even make their first field goal of the game until 9:30 of the first quarter. They found their groove as the game progressed, applying some full court pressure and finishing the game with 18 steals. As much as Concordia improved however, they weren’t able to come back from such a weak start. They also got badly outrebounded 40-18, although that was mostly a byproduct of their weak field-goal percentage in the first half. The Stingers are a streaky team who obviously have ups and downs. They’ll need to be consistent if they plan on defeating UQAM in the semis.
5. Bishop’s Gaiters
It was heartbreak city in Lennoxville on Saturday night, as the Gaiters saw their playoff hopes evaporate after a crushing 68-69 loss to the Laval Rouge et Or. Bishop's led the game for three quarters, going into the fourth with a 12 point lead. Laval needed to score a season-high 28 fourth quarter points in order to overcome a resilient Gaiters squad who had just come off a devastating overtime loss to the Martlets. With the two losses, the Gaiters have no hopes of getting into the playoffs. Bishops, however, has next year to look forward to. Jessy Roy will be entering her final year of eligibility and they have a couple of promising rookies in Bailey Trafford and Gabrielle Chamberland.