Behind Maria Napolitano’s 20-point performance, the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team rolled over Fairfield 83-58 on Friday evening in Hamden for its 16th-straight victory.
Napolitano saved one of her best performances for her final game at the TD Bank Sports Center in front of four of her biggest fans from Ohio – her mother and father and two sisters.
“I was pretty emotional before the game,” Napolitano said. “It’s always nice to have them here because I live so far away. It was hard playing on this court for the last time because I have so many memories here.”
Napolitano netted a pair of threes, making a total of five, in the first quarter to open up an 8-2 run for the Bobcats.
“I didn’t think it was my night to go off,” she said. “I was just getting good looks and it went my way tonight.”
Fairfield closed the gap cutting the deficit to 16-15 at the end the first quarter, but Quinnipiac’s aggressive play in the second quarter opened up the lead and the Bobcats pulled away.
Quinnipiac outscored Fairfield 22-7 in the second quarter, taking a 38-22 into the half. Head Coach Tricia Fabbri attributed aggressive play to their success.
“We pressured them,” she said. “They predominately play six players. I think it wore them down. They also got into foul trouble and had to sit players that usually play.”
Quinnipiac forced eight Fairfield turnovers in just the first half, and six personal fouls.
In the second half, Quinnipiac continued its offensive surge by shooting 15-34 (44 percent) from the floor. With 11-of-13 Bobcats scoring in the win, their strength and depth showed itself once again.
“We have the ability to use a lot of players in a lot of different ways,” said Fabbri. “It’s hard to prepare for us.”
Most impressive was Quinnipiac’s shooting from beyond the arc, connecting for 10 3-pointers on 22 attempts (46 percent).
“I just think we’re in such a good groove right now,” said Fabbri. “Everything feels easy in terms of us being able to execute. We were struggling weeks ago putting the ball in the basket. Today, they couldn’t stop us on the outside.”
The Bobcats closed out their home portion of the regular season with the win, finishing 12-1 in Hamden.
Up next, Quinnipiac will head to Iona to play for the MAAC regular season title, which will determine who enters the postseason conference tournament with the No. 1 seed.
“We’ll be ready and it should be a great matchup,” said Fabbri.
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