Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said the team needed to improve its zone coverage after losses against Robert Morris and Saint Francis (Pa.) last weekend. She may need to add something else to that list, because the Bobcats turned the ball over 21 times and lost their third straight game against Long Island, 70-58, at the Wellness Center on Saturday.
“The upper echelon teams [in the Northeast Conference] have capitalized on our mistakes and good teams are able to do that,” Fibbri said. “Our 21 turnovers translated into the margin of victory.”
Long Island scored 20 points off turnovers, compared to the Bobcats’ seven.
“I didn’t know they would end up scoring 70,” Fabbri admitted, “but it was the points off turnovers that hurt us.”
LIU’s Ashley Palmer scored 13 of her game-high 24 points in the second half to go along with six steals and seven rebounds.
The Bobcats had a 33-32 lead early in the second half before Palmer stole the ball three times from three different Bobcats and converted three straight layups to give the Blackbirds a 38-33 advantage.
“We played well in the first half and came out well in the first five minutes in the second half,” Fabbri said, “but our turnovers against their pressure allowed them to score more points and that was the difference in the second half and that got them going.”
Palmer hit a free throw and then scored another layup to give her 20 points, scoring nine in a row for LIU in the same stretch, giving Long Island a lead it would not relinquish.
Palmer shot 6-8 from the field in the second half and 11-21 in the game. Krystal Wells scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half while Chelsi Johnson scored 11 points for LIU (14-8, 6-5 NEC).
“They saw how teams were beating us and they were attacking our weaknesses,” Fabbri said. “We just have to continue to get more comfortable and relaxed under pressure… They were getting us under pressure and beating us up easy and we made simple mistakes in the second half.”
Felicia Barron committed five turnovers and started the game on 1-9 shooting for Quinnipiac (10-12, 7-4 NEC). She finished with nine points.
Kari Goodchild, coming off a career-high 20-point game against Saint Francis (Pa.), scored five points, all coming within the first five minutes.
Brittany McQuain recorded her third career double-double, leading the Bobcats with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Courtney Kaminski scored 12 points for QU, but only scored two points in 10 minutes in the first half.
Though Quinnipiac shot 50 percent in the second half, the Bobcats shot 0-3 from long range and 4-13 from the free throw line.
“We shot 50 percent in the second half because we went on the inside, but that was our advantage,” Fabbri said. “We weren’t patient enough to handle their pressure. We have to get better and get more relaxed and comfortable against someone playing man-to-man.
“It’s hard for us to execute right now.”
McQuain scored eight points in the first and helped the Bobcats race out to a 22-21 lead 11:03 into the first.
“I think that was really critical for us to get on the inside press for us with Courtney and McQuain,” Fibbri said.
After Jacki Mann’s three-pointer gave the Bobcats their 22-21 lead, the Blackbird defense held Quinnipiac scoreless for a seven-minute stretch where LIU managed to take a 24-22 lead.
The Blackbirds forced four turnovers in the stretch while the Bobcats missed eight straight shots.
The Bobcats cut Long Island’s lead to three with 11:18 to go, but Wells scored seven points on LIU’s ensuing 13-4 run.
Quinnipiac outrebounded LIU, the conference leader in rebounding, 46-38 in the contest, including 16-9 on the offensive glass, but only generated 13 second-chance points.
The Bobcats look to end their three-game losing skid Monday at Saint Francis (NY).
“We have to be confident,” she said of her team. “We have to be able to handle what they throw at us.”