On Jan. 27, the Martlets’ basketball team (5–7) experienced a disappointing defeat against the UQÀM Citadins (2–8), leaving the Martlets third in the RSEQ conference as they head into the last stretch of the season.
The game got off to a rough start for the Martlets. The Citadins won the jump ball and got a fast break to the basket, leading them to open the scoring only 10 seconds in. However, McGill quickly responded with a three-pointer scored by forward Seyna Diggs. The Citadins made Love Competition Hall a tough atmosphere for the Martlets, loudly supporting their teammates from the bench. UQÀM continued to dominate in the first quarter, shooting 66.7 per cent from the three-point line, whereas McGill struggled to put points up, shooting a 35.7 field goal percentage. The quarter ended with a score of 12-28 after the Citadins went on an 11-point run.
The Martlets started the second quarter stronger than the first, with Diggs scoring a three-pointer and just barely avoiding a shot clock violation. Martlets guard Lily Rose Chatila then picked up a shooting foul, but UQÀM failed to score both free throws, and would go on to only shoot 16.7 per cent from the line the entire quarter. Martlets guard Katie Rathwell added her name to the score sheet after making a three-pointer that brought the Martlets within 10 points of the Citadins. Later in the quarter, guard Emma-Jane Scotten found an open lane on offence and scored a layup to bring the Martlets closer, but it was not enough to get the lead. McGill outscored UQÀM 19-13 in the second, but still the quarter ended with a 10 point advantage for UQÀM.
“We encountered a few unexpected challenges that slightly diverted us from our game plan,” centre Kristy Awikeh said in an interview with The Tribune. “Being on our home court, we anticipated a smoother flow, but unfortunately, some of our shots that usually find their mark just weren’t falling.”
Diggs opened the scoring again in the second half after nearly a minute of play. McGill started closing the gap to UQÀM after three-pointers and a layup from Scotten and Rathwell brought the score to 43-45. McGill played aggressively, picking up several fouls in the process. However, this was not enough to keep the Citadins at bay, who made several layups and free throws in the last five minutes of the quarter to make the score 47-56. Still, the Martlets ended the quarter well with Scotten making both her free throws after being fouled in the last seconds of play.
The fourth quarter started well for the Martlets. McGill centre Katerina Stoupas made a contested layup to put the Martlets within seven points of the Citadins. UQÀM started to pull away from McGill as the quarter continued. The game’s rhythm ramped up in the last minutes of the game. Both teams were playing and fouling aggressively. Two UQÀM players fouled out before the game was through. The Martlets implemented a full-court press that the Citadins struggled to break, which led to steals for the Martlets, but it proved to be too little, too late as the game ended 62-71 in the Citadins’ favour.
Despite the loss, the Martlets showed drive and determination. Their strong effort suggests promise for future games.
“We are really channelling that feeling to get ready and focused on our next four games,” Awikeh said. “These games are super important for us to make it to the playoffs. And personally, I am hungrier than ever for what’s ahead.”
The Martlets (5–7) will face Laval (10–0) on Feb. 8 at home.
Moment of the game: A successful offensive rebound at the start of the third quarter led to a layup to start the second half off well.
Quotable: “A lot of my teammates stepped up and brought a lot of energy, both on the court and on the bench which is just as important [….] We have to work on starting our games off better, taking care of the basketball and taking advantage of opportunities where [we] have an advantage to score in transition.”
– Guard Emma-Jane Scotten
Stat corner: The Martlets scored 9-13 of their free throws compared to UQÀM’s 8-16.