Coming into last Saturday’s game against Bryant, the Quinnipiac Bobcats women’s basketball team was reeling. They had dropped three straight conference games and had fallen to fifth place in the NEC.
They needed someone to jumpstart the offense. That person was senior guard Brianna Rooney, who scored seven of the team’s first eight points in their 66-49 victory.
“Somebody needed to step up and have a good start,” Rooney said. “It just ended up being me.”
The Bobcats (13-8) got on the board first, but were down 4-2 with 16:50 remaining in the first half. That was the last, and only, time Bryant (6-14) would have a lead. Quinnipiac quickly built a double-digit lead – as high as 16 – and led by 12 at halftime.
“This was a game that we knew we had to win,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “It was also important for us to win convincingly. We were in control, our abilities took over and it was good to see us get into an offensive rhythm early in the game.”
Rooney went 5-for-7 from the field in the first half, scoring 12 points. Though she didn’t take a shot in the second half, her impact on the game was big.
“She is the intangible heart and soul of the club,” Fabbri said. “We needed a big performance off a really bad weekend. She just set the tone by doing what she does.”
Quinnipiac saw its lead drop to eight points with 15:38 remaining in the game after Courtney Schemerhorn hit a 3-pointer. After that, Quinnipiac went on a 23-9 run to extend their lead to 22 points with a little over six minutes remaining. When all was said and done, Quinnipiac had three players in double-figures.
Senior guard Erin Kerner, who only scored five points in the first half, ended the game with a game-high 18 points.
“I did start off slow,” Kerner said. “Even if I come out slowly, I can’t stop shooting. Finally some fell in the second half.”
Kerner finished the day shooting 5-for-15 from the field, but hit all six free-throw attempts. She scored nine of her points with under 10 minutes remaining, helping the Bobcats extend their lead.
Mandy Pennewell recorded her first double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and finishing with 10 rebounds.
“Everyone came out ready to play,” the senior guard said. “That was the game plan: just come out as hard as you can and play as hard as you can.”
Junior forward Kathleen Neyens added nine points and sophomore forward Lailah Pratt recorded a career-high of eight rebounds.
While Quinnipiac had standouts on offense, its defense was also a contributing factor in the victory. The team limited Bryant to only 17 made field goals (29.3 percent) and forced 25 turnovers. Quinnipiac scored 20 points of the Bulldogs’ turnovers, and outscored them 24-18 in the paint.
Kelsey O’Keefe led the Bulldogs in scoring, compiling a double-double (13 points and 12 rebounds) in 36 minutes of action. No one else on the team had more than nine points.
The Bobcats return to action Saturday afternoon, when they travel to Moon Township, Pa., to face the Colonials of Robert Morris. The tip is scheduled for 1 p.m.