Bobcats fall to Gaels in last-minute collapse, drop to 0-1 in conference play


Peyton McKenzie

Senior guard Makenzie Helms had five points in 16 minutes against Iona Saturday.

Jennifer Moglia, Staff Writer

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team lost to the Iona Gaels 57-54 Saturday afternoon in its first game of MAAC play. The Bobcats held the lead for nearly the entire game, but a late offensive surge from Iona in the fourth quarter turned things around.

Quinnipiac senior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood and Iona senior forward/center Ketsia Athias led the way for their teams, scoring 14 points each. They were followed by Iona senior guard Kate Mager who recorded 13 points on the day and Quinnipiac sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale, who had 10.

The majority of this game was controlled by the Bobcats, who outscored Iona in every quarter except for the fourth. When the Gaels regained the lead in the final seconds of regulation, it was the first time they had led since the game’s opening possession.

The Bobcats came out swinging at the beginning of their conference opener. Grisdale was why – when Quinnipiac led 8-4 with five minutes to go in the first quarter, she was responsible for six of those points.

A last-minute steal and layup from senior guard Makenzie Helms allowed the Bobcats to leave the first quarter leading 14-11.

Quinnipiac went on a scoring run in the second quarter, tallying 10 unanswered points to extend its lead to up to 12. Momentum swung back and forth for the remainder of the quarter, but the Bobcats escaped the half with the lead once again.

It became apparent that Iona was waking up when Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri called a timeout with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter. The Gaels had cut into the Bobcats’ lead significantly, at that point only trailing 42-36.

Iona went on a 6-0 scoring run that was only stopped by a three from graduate student guard Rose Caverly. The Gaels answered back immediately with a layup by Athias, and although the Bobcats led 47-38 heading into the fourth quarter, the panic had started to set in.

Mager buried a huge three-pointer to bring Iona within four points of Quinnipiac, the closest the Gaels had been to catching up in the entire second half. The once untouchable Bobcats lead had fizzled out as quickly as it heated up.

A personal foul on senior forward/center Mikala Morris and two successful free throws from Iona senior guard Juana Camilion tied things up for the first time all game, prompting Fabbri to call another timeout. Quinnipiac’s seven points in the quarter thus far paled in comparison to Iona’s 16.

Mager became the hero in New Rochelle when she scored a three-pointer to give the Gaels the 57-54 lead with six seconds remaining. Grisdale attempted to tie things up with a three-pointer of her own in the final seconds, but she was unsuccessful, causing the Bobcats to drop their first game of MAAC action. 

It’s clear that a hot start wasn’t enough to get a win as the Bobcats cooled off by the end of the game. They went from shooting over 50% from the field in the first and third quarters to 16.7% in the fourth, going two for 12. They also went zero for three on three-pointers in the final frame.

The energy in the Hynes Athletic Center also seemed to play a part in the Gaels’ win. Two squads of Iona cheerleaders screamed and shook their pompoms every time Quinnipiac attempted a free throw and the Iona practice squad cheered them on the entire time, even repeatedly shouting “air ball” at the Bobcats late in the game.

After weeks of fans trying not to overreact since conference play hadn’t started yet, this game was certainly a good enough reason to worry that Quinnipiac’s pre-season hype won’t be lived up to. The team that played against Iona today didn’t quite look like the team that was projected to win the MAAC just a few months back, or even the Bobcats that ousted the Gaels 78-49 back in February.

One game stands between the Bobcats and their Christmas break, as they’ll host the Manhattan Jaspers at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19. After that, they’ll have over a week to reset and evaluate before facing MAAC rivals Saint Peter’s on the road on Dec. 29.