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Women continue quest for championship
Last week was an odd week for the Women’s Basketball team, as they posted a sub .500 performance for the first time since December, with losses on the road to Sacred Heart and Long Island University sandwiched with a win at home versus St. Francis (NY).
“We did not play very good in either place,” coach Tricia Sacca-Fabbri said. “In both games we fell behind early and against Sacred we could not get back into it.”
The game versus Sacred Heart was pushed back a day due to inclement weather. However, when it finally got started the Pioneers quickly jumped out ahead, hitting eight three pointers, including seven straight to take a commanding 43-26 halftime lead.
Sacred Heart shot 54 percent from the field in the first half compared to Quinnipiac’s 35 percent. They were 8-12 from downtown compared to the Bobcats 2-8.
“We did not play very good defense,” Sacca-Fabbri said. “But you have to give them credit to for making all those shots.”
The second half proved to be no different as the Bobcats managed only 27 points while the red hot Pioneers continued hitting shots, tying a school record with 13 trays as they defeated Quinnipiac 82-53.
Junior Ashley Kelly led the Bobcats with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Quinnipiac was out-rebounded 41-30 and were also outscored in bench points 21-7.
“Hey, it was just one of those games that we had to rebound from if we want to achieve our goal,” Sacca-Fabbri said.
Quinnipiac got what it needed after that loss, as last Thursday they hosted a struggling St. Francis (NY) team in their home finale.
The Bobcats got off to a quick start but played a bit out of control as they had a 17 point lead slip to 12 at the half 36-24. In the second half Quinnipiac and St. Francis battled until a 10-0 run by the Bobcats gave them a 62-39 lead with 8:45 left in the game.
“It was important to get back on track especially at home where we have played great,” Sacca-Fabbri said. “We took control of this game from the beginning and did not stop.”
The women forced 25 turnovers and held St. Francis to 1-12 from behind the arc. Kelly finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Junior Sara Esidore had 19 points while sophomore Shrita Smith came off the bench to score nine.
With the win coach Tricia Sacca-Fabbri became the all time wins leader in Quinnipiac history with her 79th victory.
“It was an honor for me to achieve that,” she said. “I have coached some great kids over the years and all of them have part of that achievement.”
Last Saturday the women traveled to LIU where they have always had trouble, losing six of eight career meetings. The Bobcats did beat LIU earlier in the year at home, but on the road it is a different story where Quinnipiac has dropped all three contests played there.
Quinnipiac got off to a slow start as LIU built an early 15-point lead as again the Bobcats were having trouble defending the three point shot. The Bobcats had trimmed the deficit to 11 at the half, 35-24, but the run came too little, too late.
In the second half it was a battle as the Bobcats cut the Blackbird lead in half but never could get over the four to six point deficit until the last minute of the game. With less than 30 seconds left Kelly hit a lay up to make the score 68-67 in favor of LIU.
LIU made some clutch free throws down the stretch, hitting all four they attempted. With seven seconds left the Bobcats had the ball and were down by only three, 72-69, but a blocked lay-up attempt by sophomore Kim Fitzpatrick gave Quinnipiac just one second on the clock. Esidore attempted a three pointer, but it was no good as the women fell to LIU on the road for the fourth straight time.
“We did battle back like I knew we would,” Sacca-Fabbri said. “We just were never able to get that one stop or score we needed.”
The women now stand at 17-8, 13-3 in the NEC, just a half game behind St. Francis (PA) for first place. The women finish up the regular season on the road as they travel to Maryland to take on UMBC on Saturday followed by Mount St. Mary’s on Monday.