Quinnipiac snaps two-game losing streak, handing Siena its 10th consecutive loss in 68-51 win

Toyloy Brown III, Managing Editor

The Bobcats improve to 7-6 (2-2 MAAC) and led by as many as 30 points in its victory against Siena. (Alex Bayer)

Ups and downs are normal for any basketball team. However, what differentiates the best teams from the field is their ability to quickly recover from poor stretches. 

Quinnipiac is expected to be the best in the conference after being ranked No.1 in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. And as top teams do, the Bobcats bounced back after losing their last two games. 

Quinnipiac (7-6, 2-2 MAAC) defeated Siena (0-10, 0-2 MAAC) 68-51, dominating the matchup for three quarters. For the first time in program history, Siena is winless through 10 games. The Bobcats entered this outing with a two-game losing streak early in conference play and in its most recent game against Monmouth, it had its worst perimeter shooting game of the season. 

Quinnipiac’s timing in playing Siena — the team with the worst record in the conference — after it had struggled two days ago couldn’t have been better. Although the Saints had a strong final period, the talent discrepancy among these two teams was evident from the onset and the Bobcats controlled the majority of the contest.

The Bobcats started this road game rolling, more than doubling the 10 first-quarter points Siena scored. A huge reason for the smooth scoring was the Bobcats’ ball movement. Quinnipiac’s brand of basketball is one that excels when practically everyone on the court is a threat to score, and in this matinee, four players had double figures in points. A sequence that well represents the unselfish style happened halfway through the first quarter. 

Siena doubled junior center Mikala Morris in the post and she delivered a clean bounce pass to senior wing Amani Free under the basket for an easy lay-up at the 5:28 mark. In the next offensive possession, Free repaid the favor passing it to Morris at the elbow for a jumper to give Quinnipiac an 11-4 lead. Morris finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Free had 12 points and two assists. 

The Bobcats’ usual launching of 3-pointers was a welcome sight. After attempting a mere 11 3-point shots in its last game, the Bobcats matched that mark in only 20 minutes of action, connecting on four of those trifectas. 

Junior wing Sajada Bonner was Quinnipiac’s best outside shooter, making 3 of 8 from downtown. The Cliffwood, New Jersey native made her second start of the season after head coach Tricia Fabbri decided to bring junior guard and Nebraska transfer Makenzie Helms off the bench. Bonner ended the game tied with senior guard Mackenzie DeWees for a team-high 13 points, shooting 5 of 11 overall. 

“That stat line doesn’t surprise us at all with what she was doing with the start today because she’s been that person, whether she started or she’s been coming off the bench,” Fabbri said.  

The Bobcats’ biggest lead was 30 points and by the end of the third quarter, they led 59-36. 

While Quinnipiac had an overall positive performance, the main blemish was the way it played in the fourth period. Siena scored eight unanswered points in the first few minutes. Quinnipiac appeared to be caught off guard with the inspired play of the Saints who crashed the offensive glass with six offensive rebounds in the quarter, playing more aggressively on both ends. 

While the scoring eventually cooled for Siena, Quinnipiac still struggled to get the ball through the net. The Bobcats shot 2 of 12 in the final 10 minutes, and the last field goal occurred with 1:09 left to play. 

“I loved us for three quarters,” Fabbri said. “Credit Siena, we knew they were not going to go away. It’s evident by their 16 offensive rebounds … I had to call the timeout one minute in, and they really made that very ugly basketball for us in the remainder of the game.”

Outside of the fourth quarter, the last slight concern from the Bobcats’ performance was its overall 3-point shooting. Quinnipiac got up its customary 20 attempts from beyond the arc, but it had only connected on a quarter of those looks.

Quinnipiac is over .500 in its overall record and will try to match that in conference play next time out when it returns back home to face St. Peter’s (5-6, 2-0 MAAC) Jan. 13.