Guard Gladys got game, scores 20 as Martlet hoops squad halts four-game slide
MONTREAL – Gladys Hakizimana of Montreal posted a scintillating game-high 20-point performance, carrying McGill to a 54-53 victory against third-place UQAM in women's basketball at Love Competition Hall, Saturday.
The hard-fought result – McGill's first of the new year – avenged a 73-57 loss to the cross-town rivals 48 hours earlier and ended the team's four-game losing slide that began almost two months ago, on Nov. 30.
The Martlets improved to 3-7 in league play, moving them into a tie with fourth-place Concordia for the final playoff berth in the five-team RSEQ conference and just six games remaining on their schedule. The home side also bettered its lifetime record against UQAM to 48-25.
Meanwhile, the Citadins fell to 4-5 and sit precariously perched in third place, just two points ahead of both Concordia and McGill.
"We had a good group of starters to go out and get us going in the right direction today," said head coach Ryan Thorne whose starting quintet produced 39 of the team's 54 points after only combining for 17 points in Thursday's loss at UQAM. "What we were talking about of late is that starting is not a right. It is a responsibility."
In a game where six points was the largest margin throughout, McGill led 13-10 after the opening quarter and held a 23-21 advantage at halftime. UQAM staged a third quarter comeback for a 19-16 edge and s 39-37 lead heading into the final period but the McGillians won the final stanza 17-14.
The key play came with 2:29 remaining in the game. With McGill holding a slim 52-46 lead, sophomore centre Sirah Diarra struck for what proved to be the game-winning layup, assisted by teammate GG Cabillo-Abante. Three unanswered baskets by UQAM made for a nervy ending but the Martlets shut the door in the final 30 seconds.
Falling three points shy of her career-highest offensive output set in an October 2019 preseason exhibition, Hakizimana shot 7-for-15 from the field and hit four of her 10 attempts from downtown in 27 minutes played. The 5-foot-7 social work senior was also perfect on both her free-throw opportunities. In addition, she pulled down four rebounds while collecting one assist and three steals.
"She's been passive and has deferred a lot," said Thorne of his veteran point-guard. "In her fifth year she can't do that so we talked to her about leading a lot more and being a more aggressive player. She was pretty good down the stretch last game as well."
The game featured 38 turnovers, 22 of them by UQAM. McGill had a 34-24 rebounding advantage, a 10-8 margin in steals and a 2-1 edge in blocked shots.
Alexe Dufrene and Clara Blachier led UQAM's offence, netting 13 and 11 points respectively.
McGill shot 32.3 per cent from the field (21/65), 18.8 from three-point range (6/32) and was 6-for-9 on free-throws. UQAM shot 32 from the floor (16/50) and had a 7-for-24 success rate from beyond the arc. The Citadins were also 14-for-18 from the line.
"If we consider Laval – which I think is the strongest team in the conference – we're done with those games," noted Thorne, looking ahead to the final stretch. "And I think that skews the way our record looks right now. Laval is beating a lot of teams and we've played our four games with them already. The other teams will be coming up against Laval in their schedule now and hopefully we can do what we need to against those teams as well."
McGill (3-7) now visits Concordia (3-4) in a critical showdown on Thursday (Jan. 23), slated for a 6 p.m. start time that will be live-streamed. That same evening, UQAM (4-5) hosts Bishop's (4-2).
Crédits photo :
University of Victoria Athletics