For Quinnipiac women’s basketball head coach Tricia Fabbri, a loss isn’t always a bad thing. After the team lost to Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 6 to snap a seven-game winning streak, she said the team found some mistakes it made. The Bobcats then won four straight games.
Despite losing by 10 points to Robert Morris on Saturday and six points to Saint Francis (Pa.) on Monday, Fabbri said the team’s effort late on Monday night stuck out.
The Bobcats led by as many as eight points in the second half, but collapsed when Saint Francis went on a 19-4 run to turn a five-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
“It was just a tough defeat tonight,” Fabbri said after the game. “I thought we really controlled the game for most of the game and then I thought we were playing a little too fast on offense and their pressure made us feel cramped … We were completely uncomfortable and it led to 30 turnovers, and that was our demise.”
With Quinnipiac trailing 72-62 with a minute to go and out of timeouts, things got interesting.
Brittany McQuain made a layup to cut it to eight and then the Red Flash turned the ball over. Felicia Barron made 1 of 2 free throws after she was fouled with 42 seconds to go. On the following in-bounds pass, Saint Francis’ Sarah Thorn was called for an offensive foul as she ran over Lisa Lebak.
On the next possession, freshman Jasmine Martin made a jumper to make it a five-point game with 29 seconds remaining. Felicia Barron fouled Saint Francis’ Rhonda Watts with 23 seconds remaining and Watts made both free throws to put the lead back to seven.
After Martin missed a jump shot, Samantha Guastella got the rebound and was fouled as she made the layup. She missed the free throw, but Martin rebounded the ball and made a layup and was fouled to make it a three-point game, 74-71, with 13 seconds to play.
Martin missed the free throw and the Red Flash iced the Bobcats from the line to end the game. Fabbri said she was impressed with the team’s composure down the stretch.
“In a loss, we stayed together, and that was really important,” she said.
It was quite different than when the team played Robert Morris on Saturday. Quinnipiac trailed the Colonials by 11 points with 7:25 to play, but wasn’t able to cut it closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“We were down 10 with a minute to go and at Robert Morris we didn’t close it,” Fabbri said. “Tonight we closed it. I liked the fact that we stayed together, we stayed positive, we kept working every possession, and I think it’s that mental approach is really important when you get in this time of the season, when it’s win or go home.”
Despite losing two games in a row to end the season, Quinnipiac retains the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Conference playoffs and will host seventh-seeded Mount St. Mary’s in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
“(We have) two losses going in, so we have to switch gears,” said senior guard Kari Goodchild, who scored eight of her 10 points in the second half of Monday night’s game.
Martin said the team’s resiliency is going to be a key factor going into the tournament.
“Even though we were down 10 with a minute to go, we still fought,” Martin said. “We came back, we never gave up, so I think that’s what we have to focus on going into the NEC tournament.”
Goodchild said the team needs to play like it did when it won 11 of 12 games to succeed.
“If we stick to the fundamentals of defense, in staying together, in rebounding the ball like we did today, and just play our hearts off for 40 minutes of play, we’ll be all right,” Goodchild said.