Quinnipiac to battle No. 1 UConn in all-Connecticut matchup in second round

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

The top dogs versus the underdogs. The UConn Huskies will host the Quinnipiac Bobcats in an all Connecticut matchup in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

UConn is an 11-time National Champion while Quinnipiac burst onto the national stage with a run to the Sweet 16 last season. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma took notice of the other team in Connecticut that started making noise on the national stage last year.

UConn beat No.16 St. Francis (PA) in the first round 140-52 which set a record for the most points scored in an NCAA Tournament games. The Bobcats know that they will have their hands full but they still need to focus on themselves.

“We’re probably going to play our usual defense, how we play at Quinnipiac and do our best to cover [UConn’s] top posts,” Quinnipiac junior forward Paula Strautmane said.

Quinnipiac played Miami after the UConn game so its players got to see first-hand how UConn plays and how quickly it can put up points. Despite seeing that the Bobcats know that is what is expected from the Huskies.

“For me when you hear the name UConn it’s pretty much what you expect,” Quinnipiac junior guard Brittany Martin said. “When we went out there and heard that they had 41 in the first quarter, it’s surprising and shocking to actually see it first hand, but like I said, it is what you expect from them.”

Quinnipiac lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Sweet 16 last season and Quinnipiac is once again excited to play the model program in women’s college basketball. The Bobcats look forward to the challenge of trying to beat the best team.

“Last year we played South Carolina and they were the national champions and this year we have the opportunity to play the number one seed again at their place,” Quinnipiac senior guard Carly Fabbri said. “I think we are going to have a really great crowd showing up, but you know 140 points is a lot of points but we’re excited we’re going to play basketball and hopefully outwork them and we will see what happens.”

The thing that makes Quinnipiac so difficult to beat is its depth and how it is so good at executing on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. UConn knows that beating Quinnipiac will not be easy.

“I can’t say anything in particular,” UConn head coach Auriemma said when asked if his team could take advantage of something that Quinnipiac does. “They do what most good teams do, they maximize their personnel. They put them in spots to be good. They get the most out of each possession, they don’t waste possessions. Their defense allows them to stay in games and they’ve got enough players who make shots to be dangerous. I remember having a team like that back in the day and we couldn’t wait to play teams like the team I have now.”

No.9 Quinnipiac will tip-off against No. 1 UConn at 6:30 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. Be sure to follow @QBSN, @joshmsilverman and @shanedennehy15 for updates throughout the game as well as postgame content.