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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Bobcats survive late rally, beat Holy Cross 66-63

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Tyler Rinko
Freshman center Anna Foley totaled 12 points in Quinnipiac’s 66-63 win over Holy Cross on December 10, 2023.

HAMDEN — The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team survived a late Holy Cross rally, securing a hard-fought 66-63 victory over the reigning Patriot League champions Sunday afternoon. 

“I liked us much better than the Vermont game at home,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “We didn’t give it up and we were really gritty … the growth that continues to happen for our team is pretty substantial.”

The opening minutes of the game were somewhat sloppy for the Bobcats, as they struggled to get into their offense with three early turnovers on otherwise routine passes. Fabbri promptly made adjustments, bringing junior forward Grace LaBarge and freshman guard Maria Kealy from the bench to help stabilize the team.

Despite initial difficulties, Quinnipiac snagged an early 9-6 lead over the Crusaders midway through the first quarter. The Bobcats showcased a strong defensive performance early on, holding Holy Cross to 3-11 from the field.

As the first quarter drew to a close, Quinnipiac managed to widen its lead, holding a 16-11 advantage after one. The host’s defense continued to shine, holding Holy Cross to a 2-7 shooting performance in the final 3:54, and 5-18 as a whole during the first frame.

The Bobcats’ scoring effort was distributed across the team, with five different players contributing to the scoreboard. Freshman guard Page Girardi and sophomore forward Ella O’Donnell led the way with four points each.

The second quarter saw Holy Cross make a strong comeback, taking a 26-25 lead over Quinnipiac with 4:24 left to play. The Crusaders offense finally got into a groove, going 6-8 from the field, including a 3-5 shooting performance from beyond the arc. However, the Bobcats found solace at the free-throw line in the second quarter, knocking down six of their ten second quarter free throws to retake a 34-28 lead.

Just as it did in the first period, Quinnipiac’s defense dug in and hounded the Crusaders, holding the visitors scoreless over the final 2:15 of the half and taking a seven-point lead into the break. 

Freshman center Anna Foley took control of the Bobcats offense to open the second half. Acting as a quarterback, Foley had a hand in all four of Quinnipiac’s baskets to open the frame, helping the Bobcats’ lead reach double-digits with just under seven minutes remaining in the quarter. 

“(Foley’s) a rare commodity,” Fabbri said. “She can pass the ball and I think that’s a separator for someone that’s in a 6’2 body, who can step up and have guard skills and then also be able to run an offense like a point guard.”

Despite a quick run by Holy Cross out of a timeout, Quinnipiac responded effectively. Freshman guard Karson Martin, who was making her first start of the season, drained a three from the wing, pushing the Bobcats’ lead back to nine.

Quinnipiac settled for a 54-47 advantage after three, with Foley leading the offensive effort, boasting 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.

As the game entered its final stages, Foley encountered foul trouble, picking up her fourth personal foul with 4:58 remaining. The foul trouble forced Fabbri to mix LaBarge and sophomore forward Bri Bowen at the center. Holy Cross took full advantage, trimming the Quinnipiac lead to just three. 

In the closing minutes, O’Donnell got a crucial turnaround hook shot to find nylon, maintaining Quinnipiac’s lead at 62-58 with 1:01 left on the clock.

Quinnipiac’s defense played a pivotal role, with Bowen drawing a charge that fired up the Bobcat bench.

However, the hosts struggled to close out their opponents. A pair of Bobcat turnovers gave the Crusaders a chance to tie the contest with under 30 seconds remaining. But Martin came to the rescue, tipping a Crusader pass away and into the hands of Bowen, who then knocked down both of her free throws to put Quinnipiac up by five.

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The Crusaders hit a quick three, cutting the lead to two. Then, junior guard Jackie Grisdale went 1-2 from the line. With a three point deficit, senior guard Cara McCormack, ultimately putting up a three that clanked off the rim, securing a 66-63 win for the Bobcats.

“We’ll get better with those end of game situations,” Fabbri said. “(We) didn’t handle it beautifully, but it was another reference point where we can be better.” 

With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 3-5 on the season. The team now has a one-week break before opening MAAC play on Dec. 18 against Rider in New Jersey. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.


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