MAAC Tournament: Quinnipiac women’s basketball defeats Monmouth 83-44

Juliana Nikac and Shane Dennehy

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Quinnipiac took care of business Friday morning as it attended the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference award show and it followed that up with a win over Monmouth 83-44.

Carly Fabbri took on more responsibility on the offensive end of the floor when her teammates Vanessa Udoji and Sarah Shewan went down for the season with season-ending knee injuries. Fabbri has excelled in this role as the season has gone on and the MAAC coaches recognized earn play when she was named to the All-MAAC third team earlier in the week.

Fabbri knows that her career can end any moment and she is doing everything she can to continue playing for Quinnipiac. Fabbri had 16 points against Rider and she followed that up with 21 points on Senior Day against Monmouth. This afternoon against the Hawks for the second time in less than a week, she scored a game-high 19 points.

Quinnipiac has a reputation as a good defensive team and it lived up to its reputation today as it held Monmouth to 14 points in the first half. This is the second fewest point total that Quinnipiac allowed in the first half all season; the lowest was against Saint Peter’s at home on Jan. 13 when the Bobcats held the Peacocks to 12 points in the first half.

The Bobcats forced the Hawks to commit 21 turnovers. Quinnipiac forced two five-second violations and three shot clock violations. Quinnipiac made it difficult for Monmouth to get into its groove offensively.

“To start the game I think everyone is focused up. We take pride in our defensive capabilities and Aryn (McClure) shutting down (Spooner-Knight) and Taylor Herd kept Shaw in check,” Carly Fabbri said.

Kayla Shaw is one of the top scorers in the MAAC but she has struggled against Quinnipiac this season only scoring 17 points in Monmouth’s three meetings with Quinnipiac this season. Taylor Herd who is one of the more underrated defenders in the MAAC has been able to contain Shaw in all three matchups.

“I think everyone was focused up and we take pride in our defensive capabilities. Aryn (McClure) shutting down (Spooner-Knight) and Taylor Herd keeping Shaw in check,” Carly Fabbri said.

The Bobcats went away from their gold rush at the end of last season and at the beginning of this season but once conference play started, Tricia Fabbri returned to the gold rush. At the start of today’s game, Fabbri did not use the gold rush but as the Bobcats lead increased Fabbri went with the gold rush.

“It’s something that we tinkered with this week going forward. To see, go back to the rush or do we want to shorten the rotation and see what we can do,” Tricia Fabbri said.

Quinnipiac and Monmouth both struggled to make shots early on but Quinnipiac was able to get off to a 7-0 lead because it was rebounding the ball. Paula Strautmane had a quick start on the glass as she got six of the Bobcats first 10 rebounds. Strautmane found her offensive groove later in the game as she got a double-double as she finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

“I liked how aggressive she was once she got the offensive rebound, looking to see can I get this ball back up in the basket before I make the next pass,” head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “That is really critical to our success going forward and that’s where I was really pleased.”

The Quinnipiac Bobcats will now have a day of rest before it plays on Sunday while it awaits the winner of the Fairfield and Rider game. Quinnipiac will tip-off against the winner of that game on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. with a trip to the MAAC Championship game on the line.