Quinnipiac ends out-of-conference play with a 63-55 loss to Rhode Island


Peyton McKenzie

Rose Caverly finished the day with seven points and seven assists.

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn – Amid the first snow of winter, Quinnipiac women’s basketball’s momentum froze as it lost to the Rhode Island Rams 63-55 Sunday afternoon.

Rhode Island entered the game with an impressive 8-1 record, including a dismantling of Dartmouth, 89-36 on Nov. 11.

Senior forward Mikala Morris made her return to the starting lineup after she missed the last game against Yale on Dec. 7, sporting bright pink sneakers.

Treys started falling early as sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale and junior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood both put one in. Rhode Island also exchanged threes and took an 8-6 early in the first quarter.

Coming off the bench as the sixth man, graduate student forward Mary Baskerville made her presence known in her first minutes of action. She started it with a block, grabbed two boards in the middle and ended it with a bucket in the paint, forcing a foul in the process.

The combination of Morris starting and Baskerville off the bench led to 18 points between the two, proving crucial for Quinnipiac.

“I think it’s going to allow us to be a great team … (and) it’s a tough combo to beat,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said.

A Bobcat foul came later as Rhode Island redshirt freshman forward Hawa Komara was fouled in the paint, making the and-one to tie the game at 14.

Despite physical play from the Rams, committing three fouls, the Bobcats led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Another and-one came Rhode Island’s way, as an errant pass from graduate student guard Rose Caverly led to Rams junior guard Dolly Cairns intercepting the pass and charging up the floor. Grisdale followed, so Cairns decided to pass the ball to her right to graduate student guard Sayawni Lassiter, who Grisdale fouled. Lassiter converted the and-one giving Rhode Island a 21-20 advantage 1:34 into the second quarter.

The Rams displayed quickness on and off the ball, tallying four steals and nabbing 11 turnovers, which they scored 14 points off of in the first half.

A well-played, defensive second quarter led to both teams being even at 29 at the end of the opening half. Going into halftime, one aspect of Quinnipiac’s game had to be improved: turnovers. The Bobcats turned the ball over 13 times in the first half.

Though basketball was being played on the floor, the sport that this quarter was akin to was ping pong. The lead and momentum constantly fluctuated between the two teams.

Quinnipiac began the second half with three shot-clock violations on four possessions, as the Rams stifled the Bobcats’ backcourt’s ability to pass to their bigs.

“I think the ball just got a little sticky,” Grisdale said. “We go into there so hard and practice … (we) really just need to find a way to apply that same pressure to ourselves or the games as well.”

Conversely, Rhode Island began the second half with two made free throws and another bucket, stretching the lead to 33-29. Quinnipiac rebounded in style, with a Baskerville free throw, Caverly jumper, a Grisdale three, and Morris finishing in the post reclaiming the lead at 37-33.

Following that 8-0 run, back-to-back Rams’ threes from Cairns and graduate student forward Emma Squires powered Rhode Island to take back the lead.

The Bobcats weren’t done at all, as the pong-Esque quarter continued with Haywood drilling a three off a senior guard Makenzie Helms feed to even the game at 42.

Chants of “defense” rang from the Quinnipiac bench to begin the fourth quarter, as Caverly added her sixth and seventh points on a day where she also had seven assists.

After a lengthy review, a double technical foul was given to Baskerville for a scuffle with multiple Rhode Island players and then talking back to the referees. She was ejected from the game.

Rhode Island was given four free throws, two for each foul, but only made one.

The teams traded baskets throughout the remainder of the quarter and halfway through, the score was evened at 50.

The crowd erupted when a beautiful pass from freshman forward Ella O’Donnell to Grisdale led the guard to get fouled for the and-one and put momentum on Quinnipiac’s side for the moment. But the momentum didn’t last, Rhode Island led Quinnipiac 54-53.

Offensive rebounds and two free throws from Rams junior forward Maye Toure helped Rhode Island to extend the lead to three.

The Bobcats were forced to foul the Rams in a last-ditch attempt to take back the lead, but Rhode Island just extended its lead to eight, ultimately winning 63-55.

A tough out-of-conference slate gave Quinnipiac a 5-4 record heading into MAAC play. Despite the record, the games made the Bobcats battle-tested.

“I know this whole non-conference schedule has been pretty tough,” Grisdale said. “I think that’s going to show as we continue to play and keep getting better each game.”

The Bobcats begin conference play this Saturday, Dec. 17, at Iona at 1 p.m.