Quinnipiac beats Miami again to advance in NCAA Tournament


Juliana Nikac and Josh Silverman

By: Josh Silverman


It was logjammed. Neither team could pull ahead. That is until effort overcame talent.

It was a wild sequence that started with a Paige Warfel missed shot and ended with a Paula Strautmane layup. In between was Quinnipiac diving for loose balls, offensive rebounds and perfect passes that led to that aformentioned connected shot.   

It was plays like that which ultimately earned No. 9 seeded Quinnipiac women’s basketball a 86-72 win over No. 8 Miami in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“I knew how hard we were going after it and the ball bounced three or four different shots, and offensive rebounding does that to a team,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “The fact that we were out-toughing, that’s a signature of the program.”

However, that wasn’t enough to put Miami away. What did it was a Brittany Martin three-pointer to put Quinnipiac ahead by two with 6:57 to play. From that point on, Quinnipiac outscored Miami 24- 12 and it never lost the lead. Quinnipiac outscored its foe 33-18 in the final quater.

“I thought it was a great basketball game for three quaters,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “Mistakes were forgiveable. Then in the fourth quater, they were phenomenal and we were sloppy.”

A minute later iced it. With 5:17 to play, Quinnipiac guard Edel Thornton put her head down and drove hard to the basket. In the process she was fouled and chucked up a shot, only for it to ultimately bank off the backboard and fall into the hoop.

“She had an incredible week of practice, really agressive, wanting the ball, playing so confidently getting ready for this Tournament,” Fabbri said. “I do think there was extra pep in her step because her family was coming over.”

67-60 Quinnipiac lead.

One player that continously gave Quinnipiac trouble was Miami forward Emese Hof. Though she finished with 16 points, it was Strautmane’s defense on her that played a difference.

“She makes things so difficult and her instincts, knowledge and IQ to go back and make plays are just phenomenal and you saw that on display all day today,” Fabbri said on Strautmane’s defense. “Giving up some inches but there is nothing in terms of just mental toughness and just physical strength along with a heck of a ball player wearing that uniform.”

A huge part of the Bobcats success was due to its star players ability to limit their fouls. Aryn McClure and Strautmane have both have had foul trouble throughout their career and there were points where one more foul could have ended it for the Bobcats, but neither one got called for that pivotal whistle.

With the game being played in UConn’s home arena and so close to Quinnipiac’s campus, it by far held the fan advatange during the game. At multiple points, especially in the last quarter, the crowd erupted and rose to its feet as Quinnipiac made basket after basket.

“That was awesome, even before the game UConn fans came up to us and told us they were going to root for us in this game,” Quinnipiac forward Jen Fay said. “When we got it running in the fourth quarter the place was electirc.”

The win is Quinnipiac’s third in the NCAA Tournament in the past two years. Next up, the UConn Huskies on Monday night.