The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team begins conference play Friday against Marist, historically the small-conference anomaly and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference powerhouse.
Both teams have their work cut out for them to seal a victory. Quinnipiac will have to tighten up on the defense and prevail if they force the 15.3 turnovers per game the Bobcats average. If both teams turn their seasons around, this game could be a precursor for the conference championship, a title both teams feel they are capable of.
Both teams have severely underperformed their standards. The Bobcats, who only accrued three total losses last season, surpassed that number this season in just seven games. On Sunday, they fell to Saint Joseph’s at home, their first loss at TD Bank Sports Center since March 6, 2012, by the score of 84-69.
The Red Foxes, standing at 2-4, have not had a losing record through their first six games as of the 2008-09 season. Since hiring head coach Brian Giorgis before the 2002-03 season, his team has won the conference tournament eight times since 2004. They made it to the Sweet 16 as a 13-seed in 2007, but have not advanced as far since.
The Bobcats have struggled defensively this season. In their three wins, they held their opponents to 66 or fewer points. Their losses are another story, allowing the opposition to drop at least 76 points. Twice they have allowed 100 points, coming against University of Tennessee at Martin and the nationally-ranked Louisville Cardinals. The team allows 79.4 points per game while only scoring 76.3 per game.
Marist follows a similar trend in that their opponents outscore them 71.5 to 66.3. The team gave up their season-high 82 points in an overtime victory against Old Dominion.
Leanne Ockenden is a player to watch for Marist. She leads the team with 17.8 points per game and a 54.4 field goal percentage. Behind her are forward Emma O’Connor with a team-leading 6.3 rebounds per game and 14.7 points per game, and sophomore Madeline Blais, who contributes 13.2 points per game.