McGill Martlets Boast Experienced Roster Ahead of 2019-20 Season

Diarra, Sirah
Sirah Diarra (above) and the McGill Martlets will look very similar this season in comparison to last year, and they are hoping that their experience and chemistry can carry them to a RSEQ title. (Source: McGill Athletics) (Header: Can Unal – McGill Athletics)

MONTREAL, Que. — If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.

The 2019-20 basketball season is right around the corner, and we’re here to help you get set for what will surely be an incredible journey.

While we’re still looking back on an incredible 2018-19 season, one that saw two teams win their first-ever National Championships in school history, it’s also the perfect time to look ahead. The 2019-20 season promises to deliver a heightened level of excitement, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the new campaign.

To get fans across the country ready for the new season, we’ve taken on a challenge that hasn’t been done before. In the coming weeks, we will preview every team from coast to coast ahead of the 2019-20 season.

That’s 111 different programs, if you’re keeping a tally.

We are attempting to preview each and every team from coast to coast ahead of the new season. Challenges have emerged as the months have gone on, but we’re still doing our best to get as many out as we can before conference play gets underway.

For institutions that have both men’s and women’s basketball, a separate preview piece will be done for each team.

Rosters will be dissected and a look back at the year that was will help us determine what the team looks like this time around as every team begins with a blank slate in the standings.

Without further adieu, here is today’s preview on the women’s basketball program for the McGill Martlets.

2018-19 in Review

The 2018-19 season had its share of ups and downs for the McGill Martlets, a trend that would carry itself through to the team’s regular season finale and RSEQ semi-final contest against the Concordia Stingers.

McGill posted a 10-6 record in the regular season, one that was good enough for third place in the five-team league. Their record earned themselves a playoff spot, and they gave themselves a big boost of momentum in their regular season finale.

On their home floor, the Martlets took on the Laval Rouge et Or. Laval came into the day without a blemish on their record at 15-0, and they were looking to carry a perfect record into the post-season. However, the nation’s top-ranked team couldn’t complete the perfect season, as a strong start by the host Martlets proved to be too much.

Despite being outscored 11-3 in the final quarter, McGill managed to hang on for a 53-52 win over the high-powered Rouge et Or to pick up their 10th win of the season. The loss was one of just two defeats that Laval would endure in the regular season and playoffs, the second of which came in the National Championship game.

From there, the Martlets took their momentum into the RSEQ Semifinals and their meeting with the Stingers. Again, much like they did against Laval, the Martlets held the lead heading into the fourth quarter. Only this time, the Stingers were able to overtake McGill and come away victorious.

The Martlets led 43-41 after three quarters, but Concordia wouldn’t be denied. McGill was outscored 21-12 over the final 10 minutes by the Stingers, and Concordia brought the Martlets’ season to an end with a 62-55 victory.

While their season came to an end earlier than they would have hoped, the outlook is a bright one for the Martlets heading into the new season. McGill will welcome back its share of familiar faces this season, giving Head Coach Ryan Thorne a high level of familiarity and experience to work with in 2019-20.

Who’s Gone?

One word sums up what the Martlets lose from last year’s team that was in contention for the RSEQ Championship.


Heading into the new season, the Martlets bring back all of their key contributors from a team that posted a 10-6 record and ended Laval’s run at a perfect season. With another year of experience under their belts, the Martlets will look to improve on their third place finish a season ago and make a run at the RSEQ title.

With others in the conference losing some of their top players, the conference is more open than it was last year, and that bodes well for a veteran McGill team.

Who’s Back?

The Martlets return all of their contributors from last year’s team, a situation that bodes well for them as they look to climb in the conference standings. With a slew of experienced players ready to lead the way, McGill has their sights set on a spot in the RSEQ Championship game and earning a spot at Nationals.

Here’s a look at who’s back for the Martlets in 2019-20.

Gladys Hakizimana (Montreal, Que.)
11.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.1 apg; 40.4% FG, 39.0% 3PT, 72.7% FT

Sirah Diarra (Longueuil, Que.)
11.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.4 bpg; 42.4% FG, 23.1% 3PT, 75.0% FT

Geraldine Cabillo-Abante (St. Laurent, Que.)
5.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.2 spg; 23.6% FG, 71.4% FT

Charlotte Clayton (Newmarket, Ont.)
5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg; 34.1% FG, 30.2% 3PT (16 GP, 5 Starts)

Kamsi Ogbudibe (Calgary, Alta.)
6.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 apg; 47.7% FG, 62.5% FT

Ruth Tshikudi-Tshila (Laval, Que.)
3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.5 apg; 35.3% FG, 50.0% FT (4 GP)

Delphine Robitaille (Longueuil, Que.)
3.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.6 apg; 29.3% FG, 32.1% 3PT

Shayann Laguerre (Laval, Que.)
5.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.8 spg; 47.6% FG, 43.3% FT

Trisha Villedrouin (Montreal, Que.)

With everyone back from last year’s team, the chemistry for the Martlets should give them a leg up on the other four teams in the conference. Their familiarity with one another and experience playing with each other will give them a boost on both ends of the floor.

Hakizimana was the Martlets’ top scorer last season, averaging 11.4 points per game. A streaky scorer at times, Hakizimana is a player who can go off at any given point on offense. When her shot is on, Hakizimana can fill up the scoresheet in a hurry. Heading into the new season, look for the Montreal native to once again be near the top of the scoring list for the Martlets.

Not to be outdone, the play of Sirah Diarra on both ends of the floor was key to the team’s successes last year. The 6’1’’ forward transferred to the Martlets after a stint in the ACC with the Clemson Tigers, and she gives McGill an impact player on both ends of the floor. Diarra averaged a double-double last season, posting 11.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game while also blocking 1.6 shots per game on the defensive end.

Diarra’s ability to stretch the floor on offense while being strong in the paint on both sides of the ball make her a problem for opposing teams on a nightly basis.

The Martlets had just two players start all 16 regular season games a year ago. One was Diarra, while the other was Geraldine Cabillo-Abante. The St. Laurent native posted 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest, giving the Martlets solid production while being a regular fixture in the starting five. This year, look for Cabillo-Abante to build off last year’s performance and give the team more production on both ends of the court.

Delphine Robitaille played for the UCF Knights in the NCAA, and she brings a wealth of experience back with her for another season at McGill. The likes of Clayton, Ogbudibe, and Tshikudi-Tshila add depth up and down the roster for the Martlets, and their experience at the U Sports level will be valuable to the incoming crop of recruits.

Incoming Talent

In addition to returning their roster from last season, the Martlets have added four recruits who will look to help the program contend, both now and into the future. Two guards, a forward, and a center make up the 2019 recruiting class for McGill.

Here’s a look at the new talent for the Martlets in 2019-20.

Jessica Salanon (Montreal, Que.)
5’6’’ Guard from the Vanier College Cheetahs

Nadege Pluviose (Montreal, Que.)
5’10” Forward from the Robert Morris Colonials (NCAA)

Maddy Colpitts (Fredericton, NB)
5’10” Guard from Fredericton High School

Amelie Rochon (Levis, Que.)
6’3” Center from the Dynamiques de Sainte-Foy

The Martlets went out and added a ton of talent to their 2019-20 roster while adding more experience to a veteran roster. Three of their four additions have some sort of intercollegiate experience, while all four bring something different to the table.

Up front, the 5’10” Pluviose gives the Martlets a strong presence on the glass. Last season with the Colonials in the NCAA, Pluviose recorded more offensive rebounds (92) than defensive rebounds (79). She started all 33 games for the Colonials last season, averaging 4.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest.

The addition of Rochon to the mix gives the Martlets a big boost in terms of overall size on the roster. Standing at 6’3”, the native of Levis gives the team another player who possesses a strong two-way game inside.

On the back end, the addition of both Colpitts and Salanon gives the Martlets a boost in what could be described as their weakest area. Their front court is strong with their returnees and newcomers alike, and the addition of two talented guards like Colpitts and Salanon solidifies the back-court rotation at the same time.

McGill added even more experience on the transfer market, nabbing two players from the collegiate ranks of the RSEQ (Salanon, Rochon), while also adding yet another player with Division I experience in the NCAA (Pluviose). McGill will look to use that experience to their advantage as the 2019-20 season unfolds.

Last season, the Martlets gave themselves a big boost of momentum ahead of the post-season with their win over the previously unbeaten Rouge et Or in the regular season finale. Their momentum was short-lived, however, as their season came to an end in the RSEQ Semifinals at the hands of Concordia.

This time around, McGill will be looking for better results in the post-season. With all of their key pieces back from last year’s team, the Martlets will be looking to improve on last year’s third place finish in the RSEQ and contend for the league title and a spot at Nationals.

Experience wins in college basketball is something we say quite often, but it’s true more times than not. This season, the Martlets have their share of experience on their roster, both with their returnees and incoming recruits. McGill will look to turn that experience into post-season results, but only time will tell if that’s the case.

Be sure to bookmark our 2019-20 Season Previews page to keep up with the previews as they are released online.

– T. Bennett

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