Bobcats pull ahead late to seal 16-point victory over Canisius


Peyton McKenzie

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team has won four of its last five games against MAAC opponents.

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

Quinnipiac women’s basketball bounced back after a three-point loss to Niagara Thursday with a 69-53 victory over Canisius Saturday afternoon.

The Bobcats came out strong, using their significant size advantage over the Golden Griffins to the best of their ability. 

One of the Bobcats to take advantage of her size was graduate student forward Mary Baskerville, who set the tone with six points on 3-4 shooting midway through the first quarter.

Quinnipiac was active on the defensive end too , as the Bobcats picked the ball up well beyond the perimeter. This forced Canisius to play within its half-court sets and not get out in transition.

The Bobcats’ defensive energy forced seven turnovers in the first half, leading to six points off turnovers, helping the visitors claim a 16-9 lead after one frame. 

Canisius used the quarter break to regroup, going on a 6-0 run to get back within a bucket in the opening minutes of the second quarter. 

The Golden Griffins tied the game a few plays later when Quinnipiac freshman forward Ella O’Donnell was called for a block on a play originally ruled a charge, but then changed by the officials.

O’Donnell, who was the Bobcats’ second-leading scorer at the time, was forced to head to the bench with two fouls as the Golden Griffins knocked down both free throws to bring the game to even.

The MAAC rivals continued to battle back-and-forth as the Bobcats headed into halftime with a very slim 29-28 lead.

Similar to the second quarter, the Golden Griffins went on a run to open the third, grabbing a brief two-point lead after graduate student guard Vannessa Garrelts knocked down a pair of free throws. 

After the hosts took the lead, the Bobcats kicked their effort up. Sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale knocked down a three from the wing, followed by a transition layup from O’Donnell, as a 5-0 run turned the deficit into a three-point lead in less than a minute.

Quinnipiac continued to push forward, unhappy with the marginal lead. The Bobcats capped off the third quarter on a 7-0 run, extending their lead to 10 midway through the penultimate frame. 

As Canisius attempted to battle back once again, the Bobcats were able to respond with a 9-2 run to close the third quarter with a 49-39 lead. 

The Golden Griffins entered the contest with a  1-7 record when trailing after three quarters. However, it wasn’t easy for the Bobcats to close out the victory.

Just like it had done all afternoon, Canisius kept chipping into the Bobcats’ lead, never letting the game get out of hand. 

The Golden Griffins picked up their pace and played with more physicality on defense, which helped them eventually trim the Quinnipiac lead to just three with four minutes to go. 

The Bobcats got a break when Golden Griffins’ junior guard Dani Haskell went down with an injury in the Bobcats half, allowing Quinnipiac to counter with a five-on-four, which resulted in a wide-open free throw line jumper for senior center Mikala Morris, extending Quinnipiac’s lead to six.

Morris was quiet for most of the afternoon, but exploded in the fourth quarter to lead all scorers with 17 points on 6-10 shooting.

Grisdale, who played all 40 minutes in the winning effort, put the Golden Griffins on the ropes with a massive block with a minute left. 

As Canisius continued to get frustrated, head coach Sahar Nusseibeh got hit with a technical foul, giving Grisdale two free throws to seal the game.

The victory moves the Bobcats to 9-6 overall and 4-2 in MAAC play. Quinnipiac will be back in action Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. when it hosts Iona.