Prior to its loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Oklahoma on Saturday in Stanford, California, there was much talk that it would be Quinnipiac women’s basketball’s “program defining moment.”
ESPNU’s broadcast team even used the term a few times during the game’s broadcast—alluding to the fact that Quinnipiac’s current class of seniors had consistently broken record after record en route to this game.
For the second time in four years, the Tricia Fabbri-led Bobcats had a chance at winning the program’s first NCAA Tournament game.
But the 111-84 loss isn’t what ultimately defines the impact Quinnipiac’s class of seniors had on the program. It isn’t what defines the historic season, either.
The 2014-15 Quinnipiac women’s basketball team will be remembered for what it accomplished at the MAAC Championships in Albany two weeks prior to losing in the NCAA Tournament.
After all, it was there that Quinnipiac finished off a perfect 23-0 run in Metro Atlantic Conference play—a feat no team in the conference had ever accomplished before, in just its second season in the conference.
Fittingly, they had to knock down Marist in the championship game to do so. Led by Brian Giorgis, the Red Foxes had won nine-straight conference titles and 48-straight MAAC postseason games before running into Quinnipiac.
The game was a culmination of everything Quinnipiac’s senior class had worked for. Even perfection, as it proved, was something achievable.
Jasmine Martin headlined the class of six seniors who made history at Quinnipiac. In four years, Martin averaged 12.8 points per game. She finished her career with 1,689 career points, third-best in Division I program history.
Point guard Gillian Abshire complimented Martin in the backcourt during Quinnipiac’s unprecedented run. Abshire, who started all 134 career games she played, finished her career atop the program with 704 assists.
Then there’s Samantha Guastella, who leaves Quinnipiac as the program’s all-time leader in 3-pointers with 225. Guastella registered at least one 3-pointer in 34 of the Bobcats’ 35 games this season.
Nikoline Ostergaard, another member of Quinnipiac’s all-senior starting five, scored 766 career points and 460 career rebounds. She had 15 points, six rebounds and three assists in Quinnipiac’s MAAC Championship win over Marist.
Shaina Earle registered 111 assists, 105 points and 92 rebounds in her four years as a Bobcat.
Val Driscoll rounds out the group of six seniors. The center transferred from Michigan into Quinnipiac prior to the season, and averaged 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game on 56.4 percent shooting.
The senior class of Martin, Abshire, Guastella, Ostergaard, Earle, and for this past season, Driscoll, brought Quinnipiac basketball to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012-13, then clinched another birth two years later. They won a Northeast Conference Championship, a MAAC Championship and grabbed two NIT bids.
Sure, Quinnipiac lost four non-conference games to finish the season at 31-4. It wasn’t perfect all season long. For the second time in three years, the Bobcats failed to grab their ever-elusive first NCAA Tournament win.
But this graduating class won’t be remembered for those things. It’ll be remembered for what it accomplished to move the program forward.
The scene of the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team celebrating mid-court at the Albany Times Union Center will be what people remember.
It’s not that they went dancing, it’s how they got there.
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