Women’s basketball readies for second NCAA Tournament

Nick Solari

The No. 12 Quinnipiac women’s basketball team is set to play No. 5 Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in Stanford, California.

It will be the Bobcats’ second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, after going a perfect 23-0 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play en route to winning their first MAAC Championship title. The first time Quinnipiac played in the NCAA Tournament was March 23, 2013, when the Bobcats fell to Maryland 72-52.

Quinnipiac has three players who averaged double-digit point totals in the 2014-15 season: Samantha Guastella (12.9), Val Driscoll (12.7) and Jasmine Martin (11.7).

Martin has scored 57 points in Quinnipiac’s last three games, and was awarded the MAAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. Guastella has been Quinnipiac’s most potent scorer, hitting three 3-pointers per game over the Bobcats’ 34 contests. Driscoll, at 6-foot-4, averages 8.1 rebounds per game.

Nikoline Ostergaard (9.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists) and Gillian Abshire (6.3 points, 6.2 assists) round out the five seniors in Quinnipiac’s starting lineup. Maria Napolitano averages 6.9 points per game off the Bobcats’ bench, while Adily Martucci scores 5.9 points per night.

Oklahoma enters play at 20-11, including a 13-5 record in the Big 12, and will compete in the NCAA Tournament for the 16th consecutive season. The Sooners have beaten two teams that were No. 3 in the nation at the time of the game: Texas and Baylor.

Peyton Little leads Oklahoma in scoring, 13.2 points per game to go along with 3.4 rebounds. Kaylon Williams is the only other Sooner scoring in double digits, averaging 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.

Quinnipiac is shooting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc, while Oklahoma shoots it at 34.7 percent from 3-point field goal range.

The winner of Quinnipiac and Oklahoma will face the winner of Stanford vs. Cal State Northridge.

Photo taken on March 9, 2015.

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