Cur’Tiera Haywood shines as the Bobcats beat CCSU by 18

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – In the women’s basketball home opener, Quinnipiac never trailed after the first quarter as the Bobcats defeated in-state rival CCSU 72-54 on Saturday.

The Bobcats were sluggish to start the game on the offensive end, opening just one-for-six from the field in the first four minutes with one turnover.

Most of the Bobcats sluggishness can be attributed to the absence of star graduate student guard Mackenzie DeWees. 

According to Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri, DeWees will miss “a couple weeks” with a knee injury that has been bothering her since last season, pushing sophomore guard Reiven Douglas into the starting lineup.

The Quinnipiac second unit capped off a solid two-minute stint with a quick 4-0 run to cut the deficit to two points. 

Fabbri used an interesting rotation throughout the game, substituting all five players at the same time to keep the starters and bench units together.

“We’ve been toying with it a lot all off-season, and we just thought that coming back from NC State that we really had an opportunity with Helms, Mary, Rose Caso, Grace and Ella, their length, with their athleticism, this was a really good time to roll it out,” Fabbri said. 

The starters picked up the slack, especially senior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood, who powered the Bobcats’ offense with 20 points against the Blue Devils, eight of which came in the first quarter.

“It’s what you’re leaning on with your experienced players and she’s such a smart player,” Fabbri said. “She had a great off-season again, probably her best off-season just in the summer and for me it’s just the trust and confidence with her.”

The second unit continued to provide valuable minutes for Quinnipiac in the second quarter. Another 7-0 run from the bench helped the Bobcats push their lead to eight, their largest of the game up to that point. 

The Bobcats’ defense settled in during the second quarter, holding CCSU to just eight points on 4-20 shooting, while sprinting out to a 42-25 halftime advantage. 

Quinnipiac didn’t let up, as this time the starters went on their own run. A 6-0 run for the starters helped the host team push its lead up to 23 early in the third. 

Throughout the second half, the Bobcats got to the rim at will, largely in part to one of their offensive set plays. Quinnipiac’s most dominant set play started with two bigs at the elbows and then one gets a pass from the guard above the key and then turns toward the rim, while the other big dives and is essentially wide open. While the play is relatively simple, it was wildly efficient for Quinnipiac today.

Blue Devils freshman guard Dejah Jenkins banked in a three at the third quarter buzzer to cut the Quinnipiac lead to 15 as the two sides traded baskets throughout the quarter.

The Quinnipiac defense, once again, stepped up in the fourth quarter to close out the victory, allowing just eight points on 33% shooting. 

Despite the game essentially being over, the two rivals couldn’t let the buzzer sound without a little bit of a shoving match. With less than a minute to go, a lengthy review resulted in a technical foul on CCSU’s freshman guard Ally Sentance.

Quinnipiac dribbled the ball out as the Bobcats defeated their in-state rivals 72-54 to improve to 1-1 on the season.

While Haywood led the way in scoring, Quinnipiac got a balanced offensive effort from all fronts as four different Bobcats reached double figures, including senior forward Mikala Morris, who finished with 16 points, graduate student forward Mary Baskerville, with 12 points in her home debut and freshman forward Ella O’Donnell with 10 points in her second game as a Bobcat.

The Bobcats will be back in action on Nov. 14, when they host Hartford at 7 p.m.