DeWees hasn’t let ‘one game at a time’ mentality die, even with No. 2 seed within reach


Peyton McKenzie

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team will clinch the No. 2 seed in the MAAC tournament with a win against Manhattan on Wednesday

Riley Millette, Sports Editor

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team has gotten used to playing at home in the last few weeks. Four of its last six games have been on its own court, three of them on a Saturday.

That doesn’t matter because the players are home on Saturday nights to go to Toad’s Place. Or maybe it does, I don’t know their weekend plans.

It matters because staying at Quinnipiac and not needing to take multi-hour bus trips on weekends allows the players to take a revitalizing breather.

“We traveled a ton in January, and we were on the road a lot on Saturdays,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “To end up with a lot of Saturday home games now, and I think that’s helped us get that extra rest going down the stretch.”

That recharge did wonders for the women’s basketball squad. They grew healthier, as junior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood and senior guard Mackenzie DeWees had some time to heal up from injuries.

Now with a healthy starting lineup and a full bench, the Bobcats have ripped off 10 wins in their last 12 games, which includes Haywood’s six-game absence and one game for DeWees.

Through all the team’s recent success, DeWees has preached a common mantra. As a locker room leader, she’s been adamant on the team staying present and playing within itself.

“We can’t even look too far ahead in the MAAC, and now we have to finish out this weekend and go in with a winning streak,” DeWees said.

DeWees might have said “one game at a time” in postgame press conferences more times than junior forward Mikala Morris has recorded a double-double this season. Which, by the way, is a MAAC-leading 13 times.

It’s her way of taking charge. She leads by example through her calmness on the court, which she said helps the other players on the team stay composed.

It’s worked for freshman guard Jackie Grisdale, who has been a valuable bench asset during the Bobcats’ hot streak.

“If ‘one game at a time’ is our mantra of the day, then that’s what we’re gonna really focus on and keep in mind,” Grisdale said.

There are other mottos that get floated out there. Grisdale said sometimes DeWees sprinkles in “let it happen” or “play calm.” Whatever the phrase that day, it helps to keep everyone locked in.

It also extends to freshman forward Grace LaBarge and junior guard Makenzie Helms, who have provided meaningful minutes off the bench to spell the team’s starters. Being able to summon reliable defenders like LaBarge and consistent scorers like Helms off the bench is a luxury that many other teams don’t have.

“Grace and Jackie stepped up when things weren’t going well, we had a rocky offensive night up in Buffalo (against Canisius),” Fabbri said. “But it’s been different players, right? That’s what makes it a team … it’s been a great blend.”

Even though the team is set to depart for Atlantic City early next week, Fabbri and company are still focused on their big game coming up against Manhattan. The Bobcats would clinch the No. 2 seed again with a win on Wednesday, added motivation if at all needed.

But is it? The Bobcats are competing in the MAAC tournament for the first time with fans since 2020 after a dominant six-week stretch of games in which their average margin of victory was 15.4 points.

DeWees has kept the team on track, as leaders do. No one wants to play the Bobcats right now.