The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team saw a 13 point lead be cut to two by Monmouth with less than a minute left in the game, but held off the Hawks in a 60-57 victory at the Multipurpose Athletic Center in West Long Branch, N.J.
With the Bobcats (6-8, 3-0) ahead 59-57 and time winding down, Monmouth’s Alexis Canady’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim and into the hand of QU center Courtney Kaminski with 9.3 seconds remaining.
Kaminski sank one of her two free throws to give the Bobcats a three-point lead and Felicia Barron, who finished with six steals, made her final steal intercepting a pass with time expiring to seal the victory for the Bobcats.
Jacinda Dunbar led the way with a team-high 19 points while freshman Brittany McQuain scored 13 in a key conference victory.
“It’s a great, great win for us, because it’s conference and every game matters to get into the tournament and it puts ourselves in a position to host a conference tournament,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “More importantly Monmouth was off to its best start ever and that was an even bigger deal to us.”
With 5:48 left in the game, Dunbar sank two free throws to extend Quinnipiac’s lead to 52-39, its largest of the night. But Monmouth (10-4, 2-1) went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead down to seven points. Chevannah Paalvast came off the bench for the Hawks and scored seven of her 11 points with in a 1:10 span and suddenly it became a four point game.
With Quinnipiac leading 59-51, Gabby Singer drilled a 3-pointer for Monmouth and after a charge call on Barron, Paalvast hit a three to make it a two point game at 59-57, but that was as close as they could come to pulling off the come-from-behind victory.
Alysha Womack led Monmouth with 16 points, but was held to just three points in the second half.
“The game could have gone either way, but I thought Quinnipiac came out as the better team,” Monmouth head coach Stephanie Gaitley said. “They came out hungry.”
While Monmouth limited Kaminski to just five points, it was the freshman McQuain who rose to the occasion and gave a much needed lift to the Bobcats offense.
“She’s really been coming along well for us, the thing about freshman is when it comes to January they have a better understanding of what’s going on in terms of making the transition from high school to college ball,” Fabbri said.
Defense was a key factor for the Bobcats as they took advantage on Monmouth’s turnovers, scoring 27 points off turnovers and had 11 steals in the game.
“We had a heck of a performance on the defensive end of the side,” Fabbri said. “Once we took care of some rebounding issues during the game we were so tough and executed so nicely.”
The Bobcats continue their road trip in another NEC matchup on Monday Jan. 10 against Fairleigh Dickinson at the Stratis Arena in Hackensack, N.J., at 7 p.m.