I LOVE rematches, especially ones where we lost to the team the first time we saw them. There is no better way to see if we’ve improved, if the countless drills and strategies and hours in the gym and on the road actually translate into better performance on the court.
The first time we played LaRuche(2) was back on November 13; in fact, it was our first game of the season. We were hesitant, we had trouble bringing up the ball, we were a little slow, a little soft, and we lost 29-21.
Different story this time.
In our most complete game of the season, we led wire-to-wire and finished with a 45-30 victory, in the process earning our first RSEQ league win of the year!
But the theme of this write-up is IMPROVEMENT, so here are some concrete examples that directly led to the 23-pt turnaround from November 13 to now:
Elisabeth Shane’s fast break passes, headmanning it earlier, with better timing. She must have hit Mariama Barry in full stride 4 times in the first half for 8 easy points.
Speaking of Mariama, guess who’s learned how to make her Eurostep move without offensive fouling?
The guards at the top of the defence extending out on Les Carnicas’s main shooter; still room to improve, but it was the best we’d done it so far.
Samantha Smith’s contested fast break layup that she would never have converted last year. (She also let out a cathartic scream after that layup that would have made Manu Ginobili proud!)
Sumomo Susuta’s improved defensive rebounding.
They’re always solid, but the Dynamic Duo of Lea-Rose Remillard and Player Of The GameTM Samantha Smith played their best wing defence of the season, so good I just couldn’t take them off the floor.
Tere Calva going coast to coast after a defensive rebound; the confidence is slowly coming…
Mariama’s and Lea-Rose Remillard’s screens for Rosema, intelligently helping her bring up the ball.And finally, Rosema Lefebvre’s stepback jumpers, which helped her explode for 8 pts in the fourth quarter, almost singlehandedly halting LaRuche’s spirited comeback. BTW, we call that “nailing the coffin shut,” and the three-pointer she drained from the top of the key to ice the game, we call that “the dagger.”
That’s a lot of improvement, and every example contributed to the most feel-good game of the year. It’s good to know that the hard work is paying off!
And boy o boy, am I looking forward to playing some other teams that barely beat us the first time around. Bring it on.