The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac women’s basketball’s season trapped in the full-court press

Tyler Rinko
Sophomore forward Bri Bowen traverses through Niagara’s defense during Quinnipiac’s 70-56 loss Wednesday afternoon.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Quinnipiac women’s basketball just couldn’t catch a break during its March 13 loss to Niagara in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals.

Why? The full-court press. The Purple Eagles used their unrelenting “hurricane havoc” to the fullest extent possible, stifling Quinnipiac’s offense.

The Bobcats turned the ball over a season-high 35 times in their loss on Wednesday, and the majority of those turnovers were due to the press.

“Niagara’s a great team,” freshman guard Karson Martin said following the March 13 loss. “They’re tough, they’re fast and their main goal is to push us beyond our limits … and make us lose the ball.”

As a result, Niagara committed more fouls, 22 on the day, and Quinnipiac also drew 17 fouls, with forwards freshman Anna Foley and sophomore Ella O’Donnell collecting four each.

But this isn’t the first time the Bobcats have succumbed to a full-court press, and it’s definitely not the first time against the Purple Eagles.

When Quinnipiac played Niagara earlier in the season on Jan. 20 in Lewiston, New York, and on Feb. 22 in Hamden, Connecticut, “hurricane havoc” was in full effect.

The Bobcats turned the ball over 31 and 34 times, respectively. The primary ball carriers for each of the games, freshman guards Maria Kealy and Paige Girardi, led the team with eight turnovers.

“This is a team that disrupts everything we do,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said on Feb. 22. “We couldn’t run much.”

But overall, Quinnipiac found ways to break through it and push the Purple Eagles to overtime twice.

Here’s how.

Freshman guard Ava Sollenne, Girardi or Martin would often pass to Foley or junior forward Grace LaBarge, who would pass it back to the guards, break the press and the Bobcats would run their usual Princeton offense — designed to generate offense through cuts and on the perimeter.

“I think we settled in on the press break,” Fabbri said on Feb. 22. “Karson was outstanding handling it.”

From there, Quinnipiac could utilize its odd-man opportunities and either find someone under the basket or find Sollenne, LaBarge or Martin beyond the arc.

In both regular season games, Sollenne and Martin led the way with a respective 30 and 15 points against the Purple Eagles.

Most of that is attributed to their dexterity as ball carriers and from downtown.

In the loss yesterday, the Bobcats struggled to bring the ball upcourt, going sideline-to-sideline, drawing multiple 10-second violations.

So going forward, what’s the solution for the full-court press?

Experienced ball carriers.

Quinnipiac did not have those this season. With junior guard Jackie Grisdale being injured for the year and Kealy — its main ball carrier — also getting injured on Feb. 8, Girardi, Martin and Sollenne were tasked with bringing the ball upcourt.

The Bobcats struggled, but going forward, they have this experience and will improve.

After all, that’s what Quinnipiac’s memo has been all season: building.

With the tests against the full-court press, the Bobcats will have that experience and get better.

“(The teams) ability to still take the punch but continue to build and take steps forward … we(‘ll) get back at it in earnest in July and see what we can do again next year,” Fabbri said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Tyler Rinko, Associate Photography Editor

Comments (0)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *