Warfel’s double-double leads the Bobcats to a 76-69 win over Bucknell

Jacob Shiffer, Staff Writer

Senior forward Paige Warfel earned her second straight double-double and led the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team to its first win of the season as it defeated the Bucknell Bison 76-69.

Just three games into the season the pre-season All-MAAC third team selection has already matched her double-double total from last season.

“I think the difference in this game is we didn’t come out flat in the second half,” Warfel said. “We kept taking it to them, and we didn’t let this one slip away like the last two.”

Connor Lawless
Redshirt junior guard Shaq Edwards defends the Bucknell ball handler.

Warfel was part of the game’s key matchup against Bison senior forward Ellie Mack. Mack finished the game leading her team in scoring with 33 points on 60% shooting. Warfel led the Bobcats with 17 points and 11 rebounds and earned a career high with five assists.

Bobcats junior forward Shaq Edwards continued her strong start to her first season playing for Quinnipiac. She finished with 14 points which included a 3-pointer in the third quarter where she showed her ball-handling skills in front of Mack on the mismatch and was able to step back and create space for the shot.

The Bison came into the game shooting close to 40% from three, but the Bobcat’s tough perimeter defense crumbled their hopes behind the arc. They held the Bison to a season-low 26% 3-point percentage.

“The key was just staying on your toes and just making sure you knew where the shooters were and just making sure you were aware of everyone on the perimeter,” Edwards said.

To take advantage of an undersized team, the Bison tried to force the Bobcats into tough switches on defense to create mismatches where their forwards were guarded by the smaller Bobcat guards.

“When we had the big on little, we still had everybody guarded which is what you want in basketball, and then just switch back as quickly as you can,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said.

The Bobcats went into the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead but struggled closing the game. The lead dropped near the end of the fourth as Mack scored the Bison’s last nine points of the game, bringing the team to within four points of the Bobcats with 30 seconds left. It wouldn’t be enough as the Bobcats iced the game with free throws to earn the win.

Chiara Bacchini, who returned from injury, played in her first game since December 2018 and earned her first points since the same month. She made a key 3-pointer in the second quarter and received a standing ovation from her teammates on the bench.

“I was so happy,” Bacchini said. “I wanted that shot and finally I made it after 11 months. It was a long time, so I’m happy.”

The 0-2 start didn’t seem to phase the Bobcats as they were able to hold onto their lead, something they struggled with in the first two games. Their mental toughness seemed to be the key to this victory.

“These young ladies didn’t hang their head,” Fabbri said. “They’re just like, ‘We’re that close, we’re hungry, we’re gonna get it.’ That’s the mindset of a champion, and that’s what they have.”

Fabbri said the first win is always the hardest. With that out of the way, the team looks to stick more to its identity and see what it’s capable of.

“Everyone is breathing a lot easier,” Fabbri said. “It’s a good game for us. Now we can relax, settle in and really let the season unfold.”