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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Women’s basketball fails to climb over Mount St. Mary’s, falls 54-45

Freshman+guard+Ava+Sollenne+%28left%29+guards+Mount+St.+Marys+redshirt+junior+guard+Jada+Lee+in+Quinnipiacs+54-45+loss+Thursday+evening.
Ethan Hurwitz
Freshman guard Ava Sollenne (left) guards Mount St. Mary’s redshirt junior guard Jada Lee in Quinnipiac’s 54-45 loss Thursday evening.

HAMDEN — How does Quinnipiac women’s basketball handle pressure? Its 54-45 loss against Mount St. Mary’s Thursday evening gave fans a peek.

The Bobcats battled relentlessly but came up short, constantly one step behind the Mount.

Literal pressure came from the Mountaineers’ unrelenting full-court press, which tested and frustrated the Bobcats’ all day. It limited Quinnipiac to its second-lowest point total this season: 45.

“Obviously teams realize that’s a weakness for us,” freshman forward Anna Foley said. “That’s what we’ve been working on … I’ve been impressed with our guards handling the pressure.”

Freshmen guards Ava Sollenne, Kassidy Thompson and Karson Martin stepped up in the face of pressure, especially in the absence of freshman guard Maria Kealy, who was injured last Thursday at Saint Peter’s. She was unavailable for this contest.

The Bobcats started with five unanswered points from Foley and Sollenne, but the Mountaineers finished the first quarter with a 19-10 lead.

From there, the Mount coasted for the rest of the frame, outscoring Quinnipiac 19-5. Junior guard Jo Raflo, redshirt junior guard Jada Lee and seniors guard Jessica Tomasetti and forward Isabella Hunt were responsible for the 19.

Mount St. Mary’s largely controlled the remainder of this contest. Any time it seemed the Bobcats could get back into this one, the Mount held firm and extended its lead.

“(We got) some good looks that did not go down for us,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “We come down and we score a couple possessions in a row … that’s how you build the momentum.”

In the second quarter, Thompson grabbed a rebound and nailed a shot while stumbling backward with 5:35 remaining in the frame. Then Tomasetti drained a three. One step forward, three steps back.

Despite the adversity, Thompson played a pivotal role off the bench for the Bobcats, leading the team with 10 rebounds.

“She was amazing for us today,” Martin said. “She’s a beast inside and just in general … I’m so proud of her.”

Later in the second quarter, Martin did her best Rickey Henderson impression and snatched two steals, turning one into a mid-range two.

At the half, the Mountaineers led 26-20.

During halftime, Quinnipiac athletics and the women’s basketball team honored five women — Debra Girardi (freshman guard Paige Girardi’s mother), Associate Athletic Trainer Olivia King, Nicole Nesmith, Acrobatics and Tumbling Head Coach Mary Ann Powers and Kathy York — who all survived breast cancer.

(From left to right), QU Director of Basketball Operations Jasmyne Fogle, Russell Girardi, on behalf of his wife Debra, Kathy York, Nicole Nesmith, Associate Athletic Trainer Olivia King, Quinnipiac Acrobatics and Tumbling Head Coach Mary Ann Powers and Becky Mella pose at half-court to honor breast cancer survivors and breast cancer awareness Thursday evening. (Ethan Hurwitz)

The Bobcats donned pink warm-up tops and players wore pink ribbons in their hair and laced up with pink shoelaces in support of breast cancer awareness.

“We wanted to make it really count, (not just) putting the pink shoelaces on,” Fabbri said. “I gotta give (Director of Basketball Operations) Jasmyne Fogle (credit), who really spearheaded a more meaningful event for us to host.”

The third quarter was much of the same. Quinnipiac had great possessions — a Thompson to Martin transition two comes to mind — but Mount St. Mary’s remained a step ahead.

At the end of the third, courtesy of a three from junior guard Reiven Douglas, the Bobcats pulled within five of the Mountaineers 38-33.

If anything kept Quinnipiac in this game, it was the efforts of Martin. With hamstring issues beginning in the fourth, per a Chronicle source, she ran with a limp and laid the ball up with around eight minutes left in the fourth.

She then subbed out of the game and received attention from assistant athletic trainer Becky Mella, then later checked back in.

Martin finished the game with 12 points, second on the team behind Foley’s 15.

The Bobcats looked like they were poised for big runs in the fourth, a basket would get the bench hyped and trim down the Mountaineers’ consistent lead, but they never seized those opportunities.

For example, Foley passed to junior forward Grace LaBarge who craned the ball in to cut the lead to three. Then Mount St. Mary’s scored four.

Later in the fourth, Foley completed a three-point play with about six minutes left. Quinnipiac then allowed a bucket in the post to Hunt, and LaBarge fouled out of the game.

The Bobcats felt that more fouls should have been called in their favor, especially with the 10 called toward the Bobcats’ bigs.

“When you have Anna Foley touch the ball as much as she does … and we don’t see her going to the line consistently with all the attention she draws, that gets frustrating,” Fabbri said.

In the end, Quinnipiac succumbed to Mount St. Mary’s full-court press and the overall pressure and lost 54-45.

The Bobcats continue conference play on the road on Feb. 17 at the MAAC No. 4-seed Manhattan College. Although Quinnipiac beat the Jaspers earlier this season, both teams are vastly different now.

“We saw them without Anne Bair, their dynamic point guard, we’ll have our hands full … they’ve got great size, we’re going to have our work cut out for us off the glass,” Fabbri said.

Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

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