Bobcats break even at Christmas City Classic, beat host Lehigh 67-64


Casey Wiederhold

Rose Caverly led the team with 15 points in the win against Lehigh.

Jennifer Moglia, Contributing Writer

After falling to Kent State yesterday, the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team left the Christmas City Classic with a win, narrowly beating the host Lehigh Mountain Hawks 67-64 on Sunday.

The Bobcats’ second game of the tournament started the same way as their first, with senior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood scoring. She led the team in points for the majority of the game, finishing third at the end of the contest with 11.

Quinnipiac led by 10 points halfway through the first quarter. Graduate student guard Rose Caverly and freshman forward Ella O’Donnell recorded five points each in the opening frame, helping Haywood get the team off to a hot start.

The second quarter was not as smooth as the first for the Bobcats. They went about three minutes without a field goal, only broken up by an O’Donnell free throw, allowing Lehigh to cut into the lead.

The Bobcats led 37-31 at the end of an evenly-matched second quarter, only being outscored 18-15 by the Mountain Hawks. After the half, the momentum started to shift.

Halfway through the third quarter, Quinnipiac’s lead had been shortened to four points after an offensive surge spearheaded by Lehigh senior guard Anna Harvey. The rest of the quarter was all Mountain Hawks, as the visitors only scored twice, both times thanks to graduate student forward Mary Baskerville. 

Lehigh secured the lead for the first time in the game at the end of the penultimate quarter, with the Bobcats trailing 48-46. They were outscored by the home team 17-9 in the third, and were generally struggling to follow through on scoring chances.

The close game continued into the fourth quarter, with the Mountain Hawks keeping their slight lead until there was one minute left in regulation. A jumper from Caverly tied the game at 61, but Lehigh headed to the free-throw line immediately after due to a foul on Haywood, her fifth and final of the game.

In a game that could have gone in either team’s favor, the Bobcats’ leading scorer fouling out could have spelled disaster for the visiting team, and it looked like it might.

Senior guard/forward Frannie Hottinger picked up two more points for Lehigh at the free-throw line, breaking the tie and giving her team a brief two-point lead with just over 30 seconds left in the game. Caverly stole the lead back for Quinnipiac with a jumper and a free-throw after a foul on junior forward/center Jackie Vargas-Bines.

Leading by one point with eight seconds left, the Bobcats’ defense held things together until a foul was called on Lehigh sophomore guard Ella Stemmer. Two points at the free-throw line from sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale put the Bobcats up 66-63. Another foul was called immediately after, this time on Baskerville, putting the Mountain Hawks within two points of the lead.

A free throw by senior forward/center Mikala Morris with two seconds left sealed the home team’s fate, as the Bobcats recorded their third victory of the season, winning 67-64.

Sunday’s game was a huge improvement from the day prior for Quinnipiac, as it was able to sneak away with the win in the final moments rather than having victory ripped away at the last minute like on Saturday against Kent State. However, both games were only decided by three points, a far cry from the Bobcats who defeated Hartford and CCSU earlier this month.

Caverly and Haywood continued their strong starts to the season, but an underrated storyline was the rise of O’Donnell, who scored a career-high 14 points in her first career start.

Although splitting the weekend was not the Bobcats’ goal coming into Bethlehem following a 92-55 loss to Indiana last week, leaving with one win definitely isn’t the worst-case scenario for the Bobcats. They’ll now look ahead to hosting St. Francis Brooklyn on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 12 p.m.