I’ve been told that the above emoticon is what the kids have been using these days to communicate a disorder known as foot-in-mouth disease. I am suffering from such a disease this week, as the Bishop’s Gaiters surprised just about everyone by defeating the McGill Martlets and thus kept their playoff hopes alive. McGill and their 11-2 record still clinched first place this week, but the second, third, and fourth spots are all very much up for grabs.
Here are this week's power rankings:
1. Bishop’s Gaiters:
In a Freaky Friday scenario on Satuday night, the Gaiters did everything that the Martlets usually do so well. For one, they shot a blistering 14-24 from beyond the arc, usually a McGill specialty. They also had 5 players score in double digits, finally getting some offensive production from someone not named Jessy Roy. In fact, 9 of their 11 players who saw court time managed to put points up. Being part of a losing team, as any athlete can attest to, is never any fun. Defeating the best team in the league, by 19 points, could be the confidence boost this team badly needed.
They’ll have to do it again next week at McGill. With three games left, they’re one game behind the Rouge et Or and need to go at least 2-1 to have a shot to advance. Hopefully the all-time best song ever is being played in the locker room on a daily basis (I'm talking about Don't Stop Believing by Journey, of course) because this Gaiters team still has a chance.
2. McGill Martlets:
The Martlets clinched first place in the QUBL on Friday night by defeating the UQAM Citadins 83-70. The game had all the characteristics of a typical McGill win – balanced scoring, stellar outside shooting, and solid defence. The Martlets ran a wildcard offense for Marie-Eve Martin, who had no problem running on the baseline and sinking three’s, going 4-10 and finishing with 16 points. McGill continues to get very productive numbers from Roya Assadi (9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists), a "sixth man" who adds a lot of depth to the Martlets. Averaging just under 20 minutes per game, Assadi is shooting .650 from three-point range. However, it’s her ability to crash the boards on offense that has contributed the most to the Martlets. She’s collected 24 O boards thus far, second on the team behind Anneth Him-Lazarenko.
And then Saturday came, and in the words of President Obama, the Martlets received a shellacking. It's no secret that a better part of the McGill offense relies on outside shooting. Saturday was the first time all season they shot below 30% from beyond the arc and the consequences were very apparent. McGill couldn’t find their rhythm all night and were schooled by a Bishop’s team who plainly outplayed them. They’ll get a chance to redeem themselves next week as they host the Gaiters.
3. UQAM Citadins:
1-1 this week, defeating the Stingers and losing to the Martlets. Their win against the Stingers clinched them a playoff spot in the conference but whether they finish second, third or fourth is still undecided. UQAM used a full-court press this week which worked sparingly against McGill, but rather well against Concordia. McGill seemed flustered at times with the press, but broke it on several occasions with some lucky passes and quick baskets. McGill also had no trouble with the zone defence UQAM put in place, hitting shots from beyond the arc at will.
The Citadins fared much better against the Stingers, playing 40 minutes of good basketball and shooting a blistering 48% from the field. Five players scored in double figures as Emie Simard bounced back from a one-point showing against McGill by scoring 10. UQAM is playing Laval twice over the next couple of weeks, must-win situations if they want to avoid McGill in the first round.
4. Concordia Stingers:
The Stingers went 1-1 this week, defeating the Rouge et Or 65-60 and losing to UQAM 76-66. The Stingers defeated Laval thanks to a fourth quarter run that saw Anne-Marie Prophete rack up two steals, seven points, three rebounds, and one assist. Prophete finished the game with a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, marking her fourth double-double of the season. Concordia seems to have a different player step up each game, as their starting five all have the ability to score at will.
Concordia played their final game in the season series with UQAM, losing by 10 and bringing their record to 1-3 against a team that they are likely to meet in the playoffs. Concordia couldn’t recover from a first half that saw UQAM shoot 53% from the field. They fared much better in the second half but it wasn't enough to overcome the 15-point half-time deficit.
5. Laval Rouge et Or:
Laval had the chance to earn their first win against Concordia this week but failed to do so after relinquishing the lead in the fourth quarter. Laval’s troubles have come from being unable to close out close games - in 13 games this season, they have been outscored in the fourth quarter for all but two. Their record would be much different if a couple of bounces went their way which is why they could be a potentially dangerous team in the playoffs. Of course, the first step would be to make the playoffs. The next three games are all crucial for Laval as they face UQAM and Bishop’s, both of which are entering must-win situations and whose outcomes will directly affect the other's playoff picture.