Women’s basketball team falls to Iona in MAAC final

Ariana Stover and Josh Silverman

Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics
Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

ALBANY, N.Y. – After winning 19 straight games, the No. 1 seeded Quinnipiac women’s basketball team lost in the MAAC final against No. 2 seeded Iona.

Quinnipiac started the game strong with a 5-0 lead.

It wasn’t until there was 4:43 left in the first quarter that Iona scored any points.

Although Quinnipiac had a five-point lead, neither team was shooting anywhere near their best.

Iona was able to gain some momentum and come back into the game thanks to multiple scoring droughts from Quinnipiac.

Iona took their first lead with 45 seconds remaining in the first quarter, when they went up 13-11. Quinnipiac never regained the lead.

The game was tied again at 15 with seven minutes left in the first half but Iona went on a run and was up by 10 with three minutes left in the half.

The game turned from bad to worse when freshman standout Paula Strautmane fell to the ground with an ankle injury with 2:47 remaining in the first half.

Strautmane returned in the second half but she wasn’t the same.

However, head coach Tricia Fabbri was happy with the toughness the team displayed.

“The effort that this team has had and showed is great,” Fabbri said.

The game seemed to be turning around for the Bobcats when they went on a run in the third quarter.

Thanks to an Adily Martucci three-pointer, the Bobcats found themselves only down four.

Quinnipiac was on a 10-1 run but they suffered yet another scoring drought and Iona scored the last five points of the third quarter to take a nine-point lead.

“They made a big basket out of the timeout,” Fabbri said. “Credit their defense for not letting us find the bottom of the net.”

Quinnipiac was still in the game and played tough defense, but it was their offense that suffered most.

The Bobcats shot 30 percent from the field, including going three for 16 from behind the arc.

To put it simply, the shots weren’t going in for Quinnipiac today and they were for Iona. Quinnipiac couldn’t make shots they normally have no issue with, especially down low.

Aryn McClure shot just 38 percent while Paula Strautmane went one for five.

Quinnipiac missed Maria Napolitano and coach Fabbri knew it.

“It was tough not to have her in uniform during the biggest game,” Fabbri said.

As the only player on her team to be selected to a MAAC All-Team, Napolitano has been a force on defense as well as offense. The team missed her presence.

Although almost every player on the team can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, Napolitano adds to that. She is one of the most dangerous offensive weapons and makes the team around her better.

The Bobcats needed her leadership. Although she was on the sideline supporting her team, to have her on the court could have the made the difference during Quinnipiac’s multiple scoring droughts.

Even with the loss today, Quinnipiac has a bright future ahead of them.

The Bobcats are only graduating one senior who gets substantial playing time and no one in their starting lineup besides Napolitano is currently an upperclassman.

Their heads might be down now but this team has one of the brightest futures in the MAAC.