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Basketball teams prep for openers
Quinnipiac University held its annual basketball media night on Monday at the TD Bank Sports Center. The event, as it usually does, allowed Quinnipiac Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald, men’s basketball head coach Tom Moore and women’s basketball coach Tricia Fabbri to speak about the upcoming season.
This year, however, something is a bit different.
The Bobcats moved from the Northeast Conference to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this year, a large step forward for both the men’s and women’s programs.
The Quinnipiac women’s squad finished with a 30-3 record last season under Fabbri, capturing an NEC Championship and playing in the school’s first NCAA Division I Tournament game in program history.
“The benchmark to a good season is 20 wins,” Fabbri said. “When you get 30, it’s because you have special people who truly care about each other and are totally selfless.”
Special is truly an understatement. Though Quinnipiac fell to Maryland in the first round of the tournament, the Bobcats’ success paid dividends in Quinnipiac’s move to a bigger conference.
That very team only lost three players from its roster. Though one of which was starting guard Felicia Barron, Fabbri looks forward to the new season.
“We are going to take this one day at a time. I expect that we will grow and improve, much as we did last season,” Fabbri said. “We have a veteran group, great leadership, and a tremendous staff.”
That veteran group of players Fabbri speaks of includes Brittany McQuain, Ellen Cannon, Jasmine Martin and Gillian Abshire. The four ladies were selected as captains of the team to begin the new season, and along with Sam Guastella, will make up the starting lineup heading in.
Fabbri said that the team’s experiences last season, and camaraderie with each other are the pivotal strengths.
Like Fabbri, the men’s team is looking ahead and hoping to build off of last season, as well. Moore’s team went 15-16 on the season, but went on a 9-2 run late in the year heading into the playoffs.
“We lost four players from last year’s team,” Moore said. “We have replaced those four guys with four players who can all help us. I feel like this is the first time I can say this at the beginning of a season, but every one of the new kids will play.”
Graduate student Umar Shannon, and freshmen Kasim Chandler, A.J. Sumbry and Alain Chigha are the four additions that Moore spoke highly of. Still, he sees a very experienced core group of players who will be back this season.
Looking towards returning players, Moore mentioned seniors Ike Azotam and Shaq Shannon and juniors Ousmane Drame, Evan Conti and Zaid Hearst.
“The core is back,” Moore said. “They are all better, stronger, and more mature. They are ready to take on the challenges ahead.”
As Moore put it, the strength for his group should be athleticism and rebounding – very similar to the model of most teams he has coached during his time at Quinnipiac.
Still, he looks no further than the women’s basketball team for motivation.
“They were awesome and inspiring,” Moore said, looking at Fabbri as he first took the microphone. “It was great to see, and we reference it quite a bit.”