The Queen’s Basketball teams are sweeping the preseason one game at a time.
With the exhibition games still underway, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams are dominating the court. Each team is 4-0 thus far, with hopes to only get better.
Both the Men and Women’s teams beat the McGill Redbirds, Laval Rouge et Or, and Bishop’s Gaiters. The Women’s team also saw victory against the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) 74-67 on Oct. 13, while the Men’s team beat St. Lawrence College 101-36 on Oct. 12.
Both teams will play in the Tindall Invitational Tournament on Oct. 19-21 in the ARC Main Gym. The Men’s team will play games against Brock University, the University of Victoria, and UQAM, and the Women’s team will play against the Windsor Lancers, Cape Breton Capers, and the UQAM Citadins.
The Tindall Invitational Tournament is held annually ahead of the Basketball season. When playing three games in a row, there’s an added layer of complexity at the preseason tournament.
“We’re looking at it with that sort of view that if we get to Nationals, then this is going to be what we face. It’s three games in three days, so you have to play it a certain way,” said Steph Barrie, Men’s Basketball head coach, in an interview with The Journal.
“When you play in regular season and you play two games, on the second night you can just burn every guy out that you have to get the win, because you’re not playing the next day,” he said. “Whereas with the three days and three games format, you have to keep the totality of the three days in mind when you’re playing guys.”
Both Barrie and Women’s Basketball Head Coach Claire Meadows emphasized there’s been little in the preseason that’s come as a surprise to them.
“Our preseason is never going to be perfect,” said Meadows. “None of that comes as a surprise by any means. If anything, we welcome that environment.”
With some of the Men’s team players out with injuries—including star player Cole Syllas, Sci ’24, who spent the summer playing for the Ottawa Blackjacks basketball team—and new additions to the lineup, Barrie said the team has been trying to adapt.
“We’ve had a couple injuries, which has forced us to play some different rotations than we would normally do,” Barrie said. “We have a couple of very important new players that are integrating in the lineup and […] it’s going to take them a bit of time to adjust to what we do versus what they did at their previous schools.”
In terms of goals for the upcoming season, both teams are looking to bring home national championships.
“We want to win a national championship, which would be the first in the program’s history. We want to win an OUA Championship. We want to be a team that’s highly ranked throughout the season,” Barrie said. “Realistically, we focus on the day-to-day and we knew our motto is just get better every day, just take one day at a time.”
Both the Men’s and Women’s teams had successful seasons last year, and this year they’re hoping to replicate and extend that level of success. Though each team made appearances in the national U SPORTS Championships, both fell short. The Men’s team lost 89-85 to UQAM in the Consolation Final and the Women’s team lost to Carleton by a score of 71-59 in the Gold Medal Game.
Though Barrie’s focus lies mostly on the preseason, Meadows outlined the style of play their team is looking to bring into the regular season to get them back to that final moment seen last year.
“We’re not trying to stray too far away from what we did last season, rather just build on our strengths and try to improve on some of our weaknesses. If anybody watched us play last year, a lot of the feedback that we got was that our team was quite a connected team,” said Meadows. “We’re continuing to focus on that style of basketball.”
The Tindall Invitational Tournament will put each team to the test, and Meadows mentioned the game against the Windsor Lancers on Friday will be difficult. They’ve been 5-10 against Windsor since 2008.
Barrie agreed the tournament would be difficult for the Men’s team as well, and said though the tournament is tough, their division is ready to take on any challenge.
“This tournament is stacked with teams that are very, very strong and that’s going to be a challenge in itself each game,” Barrie said. “Our division is very, very challenging. We always know when you play in Ontario, you’re going to play the toughest schedule leading up to Nationals.”
Barrie said that spending time on the road and at home is very important in the preseason. Both he and Meadows feel there’s always going to be an advantage to playing on your home court, in front of your own fans.
“It always great to play on your own court,” Meadows said. “We get a great crowd out at our games, so to be able to open up and have that energy behind you and to be in the comfort of your own court, it’s always a nice way to start the season.”
The season opener for both teams will take place Nov. 3 in the ARC Main Gym.
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