Women’s basketball tops Temple for third-straight win

Women's basketball tops Temple for third-straight win

Michael Hewitt

In what could have been a heartbreaking loss, Quinnipiac women’s basketball (3-1) stole a 58-56 win over Temple (2-2) on Tuesday evening at the TD Bank Sports Center.

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With 3:12 to play in regulation, Morgan Manz made a layup to put the Bobcats up 10 over the Owls, capping off a 25-12 run started by the Bobcats midway through the third quarter.

That would be the last time Quinnipiac would score, giving the Owls an opportunity to comeback.

They almost did.

Quinnipiac’s Adily Martucci and Maria Napolitano, who made her return to the court from a previous injury, combined for four turnovers within the last 1:45.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Martucci said. “[Those were] just two mistakes that I made… I shouldn’t make [those mistakes] given how long I’ve been here.”

While Martucci contributed to three of the final four turnovers, Temple took advantage, cutting Quinnipiac’s lead to 58-56.

Following Martucci’s final turnover with 34 seconds left to play, the Owls put the ball in the hands of their leading scorer, Feyonda Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald averaged 25 points per game coming into the contest, but was held to 13 points, shooting (5-17) from the field.

“We had to play her straight up,” said Martucci. “She’s a great player. She can do it all.”

Fitzgerald missed a jumper, but the Owls, who outreboundedi the Bobcats 44-34, mustered two offensive rebounds to give Tanaya Atkinson and Alliya Butts a chance to steal the game.

Fortunately for Quinnipiac, Butts’ game-winning three only hit air, allowing Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri to remove the air in her system with a deep exhale.

“Great win for this program so early in the season,” Fabbri said. “We made it interesting. We needed some big stops and were able to get them. Beating Temple is going to go a long way for the team this year.”

Along with the turnovers down the stretch, the Bobcats grabbed a few offensive rebounds of their own, and tried to score rather than draining some time on the clock.

“I just think it’s us and our aggressive nature,” Fabbri said. “To tell us to slow down is a hard thing to do. I think it’s anti-Quinnipiac.”

Despite the mind-numbing final minutes, Quinnipiac shot well in the second half. The Bobcats shot 46 percent (12-26) from the floor, knocking down five three-pointers on 11 attempts.

Napolitano led the Bobcats with 12, although she went 4-17 from the floor, including 2-11 from beyond the arc.

“I was a little out of control,” Napolitano said. “I was a little gun-happy. It felt really good to not be a coach from the sideline.”

Edel Thornton and Sarah Shewan also contributed heavily in the win, each forcing turnovers on defense, and drilling key three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Up next, Quinnipiac will head to Vermont for the TD Bank Classic. The Bobcats will get a crack at Georgetown Friday at 5 p.m.

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