Friday, March 7, 2014

Quinnipiac Women Look Strong While Advancing

The quarterfinal-round MAAC tournament meeting of teams that finished fourth and fifth in regular-season play is usually expected to be the most-tightly contested contest on the event's agenda.

But that wasn't the case in this year's women's tournament when fourth-seeded Quinnipiac spent much of the first half of its game dismantling No. 5 seed Canisius, grabbing a 44-21 lead at the intermission and, then, coasting in with a 72-61 decision.

The Bobcats dominated nearly every aspect of play to the extent that the game looked like a match of a top-seeded team playing the conference's last-place finisher.

The winners shot 48.1 percent from the floor (to 37.5 percent for Canisius), and held a 41-27 rebounding edge.

The outcome sends Quinnipiac on to Sunday's 11 a.m. semifinal round agaisnt regular-season co-champion Iona and, there, the Bobcats will try to do something that has eluded them for the entirety of their first year in the MAAC.

Quinnipiac, which finished with a 14-6 regular-season MAAC record, has not been able to beat any of the three teams that finished higher in the standings.

The Bobcats lost to Iona by margins of nine and eight points, to the other co-champion Marist by scores of 9 and 19 and to third-place Fairifeld by nine and one-point margins.

"We couldn't have had a better start in what was our first MAAC playoff game," said Quinnipiac coach Tricia Fabri. "We were so efficient on offense (shooting 57.6 percent in the first half) and stiffling on defense (holding Canisius to a 26.7 field-goal percentage over the first 20 minutes)."

The winners' lead reached 27 with just under 13 minutes remaining before Canisius made a late rally but could never get its deficit under the 11-point final differential.

Quinnipiac moves on with a team that already has had the experience of playing in an NCAA tournament, a berth it earned last season when it won the post-season tournament as a member of the Northeast Conference. Four starters from last season's team are still on this year's team.

"We we learned is how to take each game at a time and not look beyond that," added guard Jasmie Martin, one of four Bobcats to score in double figures Friday.

Reserve forward Camryn Warner led the way for the winners with 17 points. Canisius got a game-high 23 points from junior guard Kayla Hoohuli, but no other Golden Griffin scored more than eight.

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