Quinnipiac turns the ball over 32 times in tough loss at Niagara

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Peyton McKenzie

Graduate student forward Mary Baskerville is averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season.

Connor Wilson, Staff Writer

Playing at a rare 11:00 a.m. start time on Thursday, the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team fell to the Niagara Purple Eagles 67-64 on the road.

The Bobcats were led by graduate student forward Mary Baskerville, who scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench. Senior forwards Mikala Morris (13) and Cur’Tiera Haywood (12) and sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale (12) were also in double figures for Quinnipiac.

In the first quarter, the Purple Eagles came out of the gate in a full court press and forced 10 Bobcat turnovers. Niagara came into the game leading the country in turnovers forced per game at 28 and had forced 30 or more in four of its past five games.

It was a lengthy, ugly first quarter with 16 turnovers and 14 fouls combined. Those numbers only increased as the game went on and the teams combined for 56 turnovers and 50 fouls at the final whistle.

The Bobcats had a season high 32 turnovers fueled by the constant on-ball pressure and pressing from the Purple Eagles. Grisdale led the team with seven and graduate student guard Rose Caverly finished with six. 

Senior guard Angel Parker led the charge for the Purple Eagles, finishing with a game high 18 points to go along with two steals. Graduate student guard Nickelle O’Neil and junior forward Saige Glover each had four steals for Niagara and the team finished with 16 steals as a whole.

The Purple Eagles received some timely three point shooting in the second half, as Parker and freshman guard Ary Hicks each knocked down clutch triples in the fourth quarter to put the game away. 

On the glass, Niagara grabbed 19 offensive rebounds that led to 17 second-chance points. Despite being undersized in comparison to the Bobcats, the Purple Eagles fought for every rebound and boxed out exceptionally well all throughout. 

Niagara had the deeper roster and it showed, as 10 Purple Eagles recorded double-digit minutes played. For Quinnipiac, sophomore forward Grace LaBarge and senior guard Makenzie Helms played solid minutes off the bench, each a pivotal part of breaking the press.

Historically, the Bobcats have dominated the Purple Eagles, boasting an 18-1 head-to-head advantage heading into today’s contest, but history meant nothing Thursday, as Niagara picked up its second win as a program over Quinnipiac, both of which coming in Lewiston in the past three seasons. The crowd was a major factor in the victory, as it was “Kids Day” and there were over 900 elementary school students cheering on the Purple Eagles.

Up next for Quinnipiac is the second half of its upstate New York road trip as the Bobcats are set to take on Canisius on Jan. 7, at 1 p.m.