With a month to go in the regular season, the playoff picture is becoming clearer in the QUBL. If things continue to move along as they have, it looks like the Gaiters will miss the playoffs and the Rouge et Or will meet the Martlets in the semi-finals. The second semi-final matchup pits Concordia against UQAM – two teams that faced off this week and will do so again in two weeks' time.
This week’s Power Rankings:
1. McGill Martlets
The Martlets continued their dominance this week as they defeated the Rouge et Or 65-58, the only team to hand them a loss in conference play two weeks ago. McGill relied on some brilliant outside shooting by Natalie Larocque (5-11) and Marie-Eve Matin (3-5). The Martlets have certainly proved that they can make it rain from beyond the arc, sinking a conference high 81 threes so far this season, ranking second in CIS behind York in 3s averaged per game (7.4), and fifth in three-point percentage (36.3%).
One of the reasons why McGill has been so successful this season is because of their ability to distribute the ball on offense and rely on several players to make big plays down the stretch. McGill’s record now stands at 10-1 in conference play, as well as 20-3 as their overall CIS record. I think it's time to put them in the top 10.
2. Concordia Stingers
The Stingers continue to get better as the season progresses, defeating UQAM this week 68-73. With their first win against UQAM, Concordia becomes a serious threat to finish second in the conference. Their team chemistry seems to be blossoming at the right time as their very talented starting five all scored in double digits. They also accounted for all the assists in the game (15).
The Stingers look to make the extra pass and to get one another involved in the game. With only four games to go in the regular season, it looks pretty clear that Concordia will play UQAM in the first round of the playoffs. Who will get home-court advantage is the only thing that’s undecided, but the Stingers have to be liking the way their team is gelling right now.
3. UQAM Citadins
The Citadins were dealt their 5th loss this weekend in conference play bringing their record to 6-5. The duo of Emie Simard and Michelle Auger-Bellemare, who scored a combined 41 points, proved to be not enough for the Citadins to come from behind and beat their conference foes. Simard and Bellemare played very well together and were the only reason why the game was remotely close. They cut the lead down to four to start the fourth quarter and a basket by Bellemare with 51 seconds to go put them only two points behind. It proved for naught though, as a few key free throws by Concordia iced the game. UQAM has a tough schedule ahead, playing McGill and Laval twice – two teams they have yet to beat all season.
4. Laval Rouge et Or
The Rouge et Or went 1-1 this week, losing to the Martlets but beating the Gaiters. Laval, who had yet to beat Bishop's all season, won in convincing fashion, 71-53. Laval saw ten players score between 3 and 15 points and played some lock down defence in the second quarter.
The Rouge et Or can be a sneaky team come playoff time. Marie-Michelle Genois is the only player to average a double-double in the conference and she has a dominating inside presence. Point guard Elyse Jobin is also becoming a serious offensive threat, but turnovers continue to plague her ability to control the flow of the game. Laval has definitely come a long way since the first half of the season and are showing some improvements. They’re the only team that has finished their conference series with McGill meaning that they have the most favourable schedule to finish up their season. It would take a pretty big breakdown for Laval to miss the playoffs for the first time in school history.
5. Bishop’s Gaiters
It seems that the Gaiters' 2010-2011 season will end without a playoff berth. Their loss to Laval this week puts them two games back of playoff contention and the next two weeks finds them playing against McGill, a team that should have no problem handing them two more losses. I want to believe that they’ll get it together and make the playoffs just like I want to believe that the black-background photoviewer on Facebook will magically disappear. But as we all know, it ain’t happening.