Mikala Morris records double-double, Amani Free stays hot in 61-50 win over Marist


Alex Bayer

Mikala Morris had a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double and a season-high four blocks in Thursday’s win over Marist.

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

Despite MAAC steals leader and Quinnipiac senior guard Mackenzie DeWees leaving the game in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury, the Bobcats defeated Marist 61-50.

“I thought it was an incredible team win, we took Marist’s punch in the first quarter and were able to have everyone step up once Mack went down in the first two minutes, ” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said.

The first quarter began with an up-tempo and messy style of basketball, which led to both teams combining for seven turnovers in the first four minutes. Marist used a quick 13-0 run out of a timeout to take an 18-12 lead, knocking down 6-of-9 shots including an and-one 3-pointer. The two teams battled back and forth, but the Red Foxes held onto a six-point lead at the end of the first.

Recent MAAC Player of the Week, senior guard Amani Free, was one of the Bobcats who stepped up big time in the first half, scoring 12 points and keeping the team afloat while the rest of the team struggled to get anything going on the offensive end. Quinnipiac cut the deficit to two points heading into the halftime break.

Free reached double-digit scoring for her fifth straight game. The Bobcats have won all five.

“We’ve had to use a lot of different players with all of the injuries we’ve had and Amani has really stepped up,” Fabbri said.

In the second half, Quinnipiac flipped the script. The Bobcats fed junior forward Mikala Morris and allowed her to dominate the paint for 15 points, 15 rebounds and a season-high four blocks.

Multiple Red Fox defenders tried to stop Morris, but they didn’t have much success. Morris got open every way possible, posting up defenders on the block and cutting to the basket off pick-and-rolls.

“I airballed my first shot tonight, but coach spoke to me and told me what I needed to hear and it helped me remain confident,” Morris said.

Morris’ play helped spark a 7-0 run for the Bobcats, giving them a 52-45 lead which they never looked back from. Fabbri couldn’t praise her star center enough.

“We needed it … we needed her to do what she did and be who she’s been for us and really dominate, whether she was touching the ball or not,” Fabbri said.

Senior guard Rose Caverly also got hot in the second half. Caverly and Morris frequently used screens to free each other up, which the Marist defense couldn’t stop. Caverly scored eight points to go along with a season-high eight rebounds and four assists.

“I’ve kinda had a down season, but I’d rather play well in the last month of the season than any other time of the year,” Caverly said.

With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 13-7 overall and 8-3 in MAAC play, while pushing its win streak to five games.

Following tonight’s game, Quinnipiac will travel to Monmouth to take on the Hawks on Saturday at 2 p.m.