When the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team put on their new gold uniforms, it was like they were a different team on the court.
A team that steals the ball and forces a lot of turnovers.
Quinnipiac’s defense forced 25 turnovers in its 77-65 win over conference opponent Mount Saint Mary’s.
“I think our press worked very well,” center Courtney Kaminski said. “That was a big reason why we got so many steals and forced so many turnovers.”
The Bobcats collected a season-high 16 steals in the game, including a season-high six from Felicia Barron.
“That’s all because of Felicia,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said.
Tuesday night’s game marks the fifth straight game when the Bobcats have forced at least 20 turnovers. Over the past three games the Bobcats have averaged 13.7 steals per game. In their other 10 games they have averaged only 7.5 steals per game.
“Whenever we want to play defense, we can play defense,” junior Jacinda Dunbar said. “When they’re making a run we come together and say ‘We have to make a stop’ and that’s what we do.”
Kaminski and Dunbar finished with 23 and 14 points respectively after both scored 10 points in the second half, but the Bobcats also received a lot of help from their bench.
Lisa Lebak, Brittany McQuain, and Jacki Mann combined for 21 points, Shelby Sferra brought down eight rebounds, and Brittany Hill registered eight assists off the bench for Quinnipiac (5-8, 2-0 NEC), which was playing without senior Alyssa Jann and junior Kari Goodchild.
“We have a lot of depth and quality players off the bench who can step in and step up when they need to,” Fabbri said. “We were banged up a lot last year. We’re pretty nicked right now but we have to find a way to get through it.”
The Bobcats forced 17 turnovers and stole the ball 11 times in the first frame, but went into halftime only with a two point lead over the Mountaineers (3-10, 0-2 NEC). There were 12 lead changes in the first half alone.
But in the second half the Bobcats went on a 17-8 run over the last seven minutes to close the game. The Bobcats also held the Mountaineers to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in the second half, compared to 48 percent in the first. The Mount shot 57.1 percent from long range in the first, but only shot 27.3 percent from three in the second.
“We said we had to change our game plan around,” Dunbar said. “We knew we were a better team than the Mount so we had to come out harder, had to put the ball in the bucket, and had to stop them on defense.”
Despite being outrebounded 36-35 in the game, the Bobcats outrebounded the Mountaineers 22-16 in the second half.
“We knew we needed to start rebounding better, especially on defense,” Kaminski said. “As a team we realized to do that.”
Mary Dunn led the Mountaineers in scoring with 17 points while Kayla Grossett scored 15 points off the bench. Tara Lonergan added 12 points. Dunn and Grossett combined for 15 rebounds.
Quinnipiac will move on to face Monmouth Friday, while The Mount faces Robert Morris Saturday.
Photo credit: Al Valerio