Quinnipiac women’s basketball’s season ends after lopsided 94-68 loss to Boston College, status of seniors up in the air


Michael Sicoli

Mackenzie DeWees scored 15 points in what was potentially her final game at Quinnipiac.

Riley Millette, Sports Editor

Mackenzie DeWees looked down at her feet dejectedly, ring and middle finger on her right hand taped together, waiting for the referee to skip her the ball for her free throws. The senior guard looked tired, out of gas, knowing it was perhaps her last game in a Quinnipiac uniform.

Each free throw looked like a contest, each layup a battle. As physical a player as they come, DeWees still fought for loose balls and played top-tier defense, but the possible conclusion to her Quinnipiac career was a grueling marathon.

DeWees, along with fellow senior guards Rose Caverly and Amani Free, can opt into another year of NCAA eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monday’s result made the trio contemplate about their future sooner than they would have hoped.

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team literally limped to the finish line of the 2022 season, which ended with a whimper in a 94-68 loss to Boston College. DeWees missed all but 12 minutes of the team’s last game against URI with injury. Caverly dealt with ailments of her own.

“I don’t think anyone is 100% healthy this time of season,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said with a light chuckle. “Not only is it physically fatiguing, but mentally as well.”

Regardless, the team was feeling loose before the game, smiling and having fun in the pregame shootaround. Junior guard Sajada Bonner danced to Drake’s “Wants and Needs.” Senior guard Amani Free sung the hook. “I need me some Jesus in my life, amen,” she mouthed as she put up a 3-pointer.

DeWees was happy and smiling. Sophomore forward Tiera White was busting moves — which isn’t out of the ordinary for her — but still, the vibe was positive.

Call it the postseason tournament effect.

“Maybe we felt a bit more excitement than usual,” Fabbri said.

Monday’s game was the second round of the WNIT, a tournament offered to the nation’s best teams that didn’t get a bid in the NCAA tournament. Since the Bobcats were the No. 2 seed in the MAAC and the No. 1 Fairfield Stags won the conference, Quinnipiac received an automatic bid to the WNIT.

The Bobcats achieved their goal of playing in the postseason outside the MAAC tournament, but not the one they dreamed of. The NCAA tournament was in sight this season. Fabbri is no stranger to it. She’s been to it five times since 2013, including a run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2017 as a No. 12 seed.

Of course, there’s always motivation for college athletes every time they play. One more game for the seniors, perhaps. Beating Boston College would have put Quinnipiac onto the third round of the WNIT, its best-ever performance in the tournament.

Maybe better yet, the Bobcats had just made program history three days prior after winning on the road against a WNIT opponent for the first time. And that team, URI, was the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic 10, no less. Adding to that accomplishment would have put a bow on the team’s postseason journey.

But making it through the regular season, the MAAC tournament and two additional postseason games comes at a price.

This season Quinnipiac has rolled along through injuries, though few and far between, thanks to a deep bench rotation. But the Bobcats’ health caught up to them in their lopsided loss to the Eagles. Quinnipiac still had the high-energy offense that was its identity this season and played with the urgency that Fabbri expects, but it was easy to tell how laboring it was.

For some, that is. Caverly was putting up extra shots on the Conte Forum floor an hour and a half before the game started and it paid off. She scored a career-high 26 points and tied a program record by hitting six 3-pointers. DeWees scored 15 points, an average night for her, but needed to conjure every iota of energy from within to do it.

It didn’t help that the Bobcats were plain and simply outmatched.

There were five minutes left in the second quarter with Quinnipiac trailing Boston College 32-18. The Eagles were in the middle of pounding the Bobcats, which they did in about every way possible. Boston College outrebounded, outscored, outmuscled and outwilled Quinnipiac at every turn in its 26-point triumph.

Junior forward Mikala Morris got the business from Eagles freshman center Maria Gakdeng. Gakdeng, an inch taller than Morris, stole her lunch money all night. She forced Morris to shoot 3-10 from the field and collect only three rebounds in 26 minutes. Morris was a double-double machine during the regular season, second-most in the MAAC in that category with 13. But against a team equipped to deal with her size, the Eagles erased her.

Speaking of double-doubles, take a bow, Taylor Soule. The Boston College senior forward finished with 33 points, 16 rebounds and three steals. At halftime, the stat sheet read 12 points and 10 rebounds. A double-double at halftime in the second round of the WNIT.

“I think I just went into the game knowing how dominant I can be,” Soule said.

You might expect the Bobcats to walk into the postgame press conference, hat in hand, sorry for themselves that the book had truly closed on their season. However, Fabbri glowed about her team and what they accomplished in 2022 without any disappointment in her voice. She said the experience of playing much stiffer competition than the team is used to will help the younger players on the team going forward, and the more experienced players on the team agreed.

“We put in all this work and just because they’re an Atlantic 10 team and an ACC team, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be on the court,” Caverly said. “Take the open shots, play your game, so just gaining confidence from these two games.”

Continuing the theme of end-of-season reflection, DeWees said her favorite moment of the year was the first home game, which was actually a loss. Then ranked No. 4 Indiana beat Quinnipiac 67-59.

“You could see it in our eyes and coach’s eyes, I think it really stunned (Indiana),” DeWees said. “I think the crowd really got into it, and that was the first time we really had a big crowd back in the arena. I really think that that is just like the most fun time.”

Her reflection fit the pregame warmup — she smiled and spoke warmly about the memories she made. Even after trudging through a nightmare of a game against an ACC opponent while injured, she managed to revert to her jovial spirit.

It was a fitting end (maybe?) to a storybook career. A member of the 1,000-point club, two time All-MAAC First Teamer, one-time MAAC Player of the Year. Had DeWees played her final game at Conte Forum on Monday, her career won’t be remembered for her final game, even though she still performed well.

The program and the fans will remember her accolades, her talent and the respect she commanded. DeWees’ trademarked headband will be a symbol of leadership for years to come.