Quinnipiac women’s basketball moves into second place in MAAC with 59-42 win over Rider


Daniel Passapera

Quinnipiac women’s basketball (9-3) is two games behind Iona (11-1) in the MAAC standings.

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team defeated Rider 59-42 Thursday, extending their win streak to five. 

The Bobcats got a big lift before the game even began when graduate student guard Mackenzie DeWees was thrown into the starting lineup, her first start of the year. 

The 2021-22 All-MAAC First Teamer recently returned to action after battling through a leg injury for a majority of the season.

“Great emotional lift,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “(She adds) depth in our rotation, it’s nice playing with a full deck of cards.”

However, that emotional lift wasn’t there to be seen once the ball tipped off. The DeWees-led lineup struggled to put the ball in the bucket until sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale finally converted on a corner three to give Quinnipiac their first points after three minutes.

The Broncs weren’t much better, as the two teams headed into the under-five media timeout with just eight combined points and a 5-3 Rider lead. 

The timeout allowed Quinnipiac to re-group, coming out of the it looking like a completely different team. 

The shift in the Bobcats’ play started on the defensive side of the ball, as Quinnipiacforced seven Rider turnovers in the first quarter, helping it go on a 9-2 run to grab a six point advantage after 10 minutes.

“What we count on every night is our defensive game,” senior center Mikala Morris said. “Shots haven’t been falling for us consistently game-to-game, but one thing we worked on all year, also as long as I’ve been here, is our defensive identity and it’s nice to see that finally come together.”

Quinnipiac closed the quarter on a 14-3 run, capped off by a free-throw line jumper from Morris with three seconds remaining. 

The depth of the hosts showed in the second quarter, graduate student forward Mary Baskerville already had eight points off the bench midway through the second, helping the Bobcats’ bench to a 15-3 lead over the Broncs’ bench.

Baskerville’s size, once again, was huge for Quinnipiac, recording her second consecutive double-double. The Providence transfer was aggressive with the ball in her hands and on the glass, playing a key role in a 10-0 Bobcat run. 

“It’s been really nice to get consistent production,” Fabbri said. “It’s turned into really dominant performances from Mary and it’s been a big difference for us during this win streak.”

Baskerville, along with Morris and senior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood combined for 15 rebounds in the first half, a tough thing to do against a big Broncs team. The dirty work inside led to an 11-3 advantage in the second chance points column and ultimately a 32-21 halftime lead.

The Bobcats continued to make the defensive end a point of emphasis, taking a 53-37 lead, their largest of the game, into the third quarter media timeout. 23 of those 53 points came off of turnovers.

With every bucket the women scored, the men’s basketball team got louder and louder from the crowd even getting into a bit of a back-and-forth with one of Rider’s assistant coaches at one point. 

“I never had that in high school, no one came to our high school games,” sophomore forward Grace LaBarge said. “Just to see the support from them, and even them switching sides at halftime and to go to the other end to heckle the other team, it’s great and what they’re saying is pretty funny too.”

The energy the men’s team brought certainly helped, as the Bobcats closed the third quarter with a 44-34 lead. 

LaBarge didn’t shy away from the moment today, playing her most aggressive basketball she has all-season en route to a career-high 11 points. 

“I’m super proud of her,” Morris said. “Grace has stepped up this season, this is a big season for her. I think every game she’s gotten better and better and her numbers are showing with her productivity.”

Rider tried to throw in some different defensive looks in the fourth, searching for any answer to a 16-point Bobcat lead, but there were no answers to be found, as Quinnipiac cruised in the fourth to a 59-42 victory. 

The win moves the Bobcats to 9-3 in conference play, and in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the MAAC as the regular season inches closer to its final stretch of games.

Quinnipiac will be back in action on Feb. 4, when it hosts Marist at 2 p.m.