Bobcats fall 68-62 to the Broncs at home

Matthew Jaroncyk, Staff Writer

The crowd at People’s United Stadium was flooded with pink, as the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team held its annual Play4Kay event, one that went down to the wire, ending with a 68-62 Bobcat defeat Thursday night.

The first quarter was a struggle for both teams, with both sides missing their first four shots. Roughly three minutes into the quarter, Quinnipiac freshman forward Mikala Morris got the first basket for the Bobcats. The Broncs then went on a scoring spree, scoring five consecutive points before the Bobcats could respond. The rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth affair, ending with the Bobcats down by one.

The beginning of the second started off with both teams exchanging buckets. The Bobcats defense did an exceptional job containing senior guard Stella Johnson in the first quarter, but it did not take long for the leading scorer in the MAAC to find her footing, accruing 12 of her 29 points in the second quarter alone, giving the Broncs a five-point lead at halftime.

Morgan Tencza
Senior guard Taylor Herd slips past a Rider defender en route to a bucket.

Despite Johnson going on a scoring frenzy, Fabbri was pleased with how the team was able to execute the gameplan in the first half, with the focal point being defense.

“I liked how we mixed our defenses and getting Amari (Johnson) into foul trouble early in the first half,” Fabbri said. “The first half allowed us to keep us close as it can be and be able to get in the position that we were in.”

Coming out of halftime, Johnson picked up where she left off in the first half, picking apart the Bobcat defense and scoring from anywhere she wanted. This did not deter the Bobcats, as their focal point now was to be more aggressive and get the ball into the paint, something senior forward Paige Warfel expected to be a factor in the game.

This seemed to be working well for the Bobcats, as they were able to cut the deficit to four before senior guards Amari Johnson and Stella Johnson brought the lead back to 10 points. The Bobcats were able to get a late push at the end of the third quarter, cutting the lead to six.

Heading into the final quarter, the Bobcats stuck to their second half gameplan. Thanks to help of Morris, freshman guard Sajada Bonner and senior forward Jaden Ward the Bobcats went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 52. Ward scored nine of her season-high 12 points in the quarter.

With the momentum seeming to shift in favor of the Bobcats, the Broncs put an end to this with a 3-pointer from junior forward Daija Moses and a late and-one from Stella Johnson.

A last-minute push from Warfel and Bonner got the Bobcats within five. It was the final free throw of the game by Stella Johnson that officially put the game out of reach.

One of the more surprising stats of the game was that the Bobcats did not make a single 3-pointer, but this did not rattle Warfel. She talked about how the team set up good looks all night, but could not execute on shooting from the arc. She also explained that she was pleased with how close her team kept the game without any 3-point success, and that once the shooting shows up the wins will follow.

“It goes to show how good we are this year, and we were right in the game,” Warfel said. “Just knowing that even though we didn’t play our best basketball, we were right there in the game. Once we get there, we are going to want it that much more.”

The Bobcats look to bounce back from the loss as they play the Fairfield Stags at Alumni Hall on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m.