‘It’s never perfect’: What went wrong for Quinnipiac women’s basketball in the MAAC Tournament


Peyton McKenzie

Quinnipiac women’s basketball has not appeared in the MAAC championship game since 2019, when it beat Marist by 30 points to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

 ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – During the regular season, the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team beat Manhattan by 10 or more points in both contests. It seemed nearly destined to repeat and advance to the MAAC semifinals. 

But it all fell down on March 9 with a sprinkle of March magic and a performance where the Bobcats rarely had control. 

“We got behind the eight ball and we were a little tense,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said following the 50-43 loss to Manhattan. “When you’re playing from behind, you’re rushed.” 

The first reason why Quinnipiac lost was the performance of its bigs. Besides graduate student forward Mary Baskerville, who led the team with 12 points, senior forwards Cur’Tiera Haywood and Mikala Morris disappointed. 

Haywood – the All-MAAC Third Teamer – tied her season low of two points in a game and Morris put up a goose egg. Bear in mind, Morris was coming off an ankle injury and was likely not playing at 100%. 

The guards were subpar besides graduate student guard Rose Caverly. The Brick, New Jersey, native dropped 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Her performance couldn’t sway a less than ideal outing for the Bobcats. 

Rose Caverly entered the transfer portal on
March 12 after three seasons at Quinnipiac. (Peyton McKenzie)

“It’s never perfect,” Caverly said postgame. “There’s ups and downs, ebbs and flows, but you just gotta take it and run with it.” 

Secondly, Quinnipiac failed to get to the free-throw line. Manhattan out-shot the Bobcats 14-3 at the charity stripe. Quinnipiac’s physical play style usually started in the frontcourt, and the lack of its presence showed and partly cost the Bobcats the game. 

Conversely, the Jaspers had less to lose, played better defense and utilized their best weapon far better than Quinnipiac. 

Coming into the tournament as the No. 6 seed, expectations were low for Manhattan, but that helped it triumph over Quinnipiac. No one expected the Jaspers to beat a Bobcats team that dominated them in the regular season, let alone go on to beat No. 2 Niagara and advance to the MAAC Championship. 

“We don’t care if we’ve lost one game to Quinnipiac or two,” Manhattan senior guard Dee Dee Davis said postgame. “Postseason play is a whole different ball game.” 

Defensively, Manhattan played better on the boards than Quinnipiac. It switched matchups often and its man-on-man formation stifled nearly all action in the paint, and any shot that Quinnipiac missed, sophomore forward Petra Juric grabbed. Her 11 boards led the Jaspers and locked down the glass. 

Finally, Davis shined coming out of halftime. The two-time All-MAAC First Teamer was in foul trouble early and had to sit the first two quarters. But coming out of the half, she was electric. 

Her explosiveness sliced through the Bobcats defense, which led to 15 points and got her and her teammates open looks. 

“I’ll be honest, I wasn’t nervous,” Manhattan head coach Heather Vulin said postgame. “I knew when she got back in the second half, she was going to do her thing.” 

History repeated itself for the second-straight year which leaves an uncertain future for the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team. 

With Caverly, Morris and senior guard Makenzie Helms all entering the transfer portal, names like sophomore guard Jackie Grisdale, sophomore forward Grace LaBarge and freshman forward Ella O’Donnell must usher in a new era of Bobcats basketball.