Quinnipiac to faceoff against No. 8 Miami in first round of NCAA Tournament

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

The Quinnipiac Bobcats and the Miami Hurricanes will faceoff for the second year in a row on Saturday. Miami had the home court advantage in the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament matchup but it will be Quinnipiac with the in-state advantage this year.

Quinnipiac is a No. 9 seed in this year’s tournament, which is the programs lowest seed in its division one history. Not only were the Bobcats rewarded with a nine seed but it also was rewarded with a glorified home game. Quinnipiac will make the hour-long trip up to Storrs, Conn. to play Miami.

Quinnipiac beat Miami 85-78 to advance to the Sweet 16 so Miami will be looking to get its revenge this season. Quinnipiac is no longer a Cinderella but a respected and feared team in the NCAA Tournament and like last year, Miami will not overlook its opponent.

“I mean they’re major as far as I’m concerned,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said last year. “And so they don’t have to worry about us disrespecting them because that’s not going to happen. They’re awfully good, and they’ve been good, and she’s been a heck of a coach for a long time, and she knows what she’s doing. So that’s where we’re at.”

Miami has struggled a little this season after its two best players to graduation last year but Quinnipiac knows that although Miami has a young roster it is still dangerous as it is 7-3 in its last 10 games.

“There was great respect in getting an opportunity to see Miami again,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “Katie Meier has done a fantastic job with a young team. They were hit hard by graduation, so for her to do what she was able to do and get them back into the NCAA Tournament just speaks a lot to what she’s capable and great at doing.”

The Hurricanes like to pressure the opposing team’s ball handlers and force turnovers whenever possible so the Bobcats will need to be ready for the on-ball pressure that they will face.

“I think they apply great ball pressure,” Fabbri said. “They also like to jump the passing lanes a lot. So something that we have been stressing in practice the last couple of days has just been utilizing our ball and pass fakes. Make sure to present yourself when you’re open and step to the passes.”

Aryn McClure and Jen Fay continue to step up for Quinnipiac in big games so expect them to step up on Saturday. McClure scored 15 points against Miami last year, which was second to only Morgan Manz who had 22. Fay struggled as she shot 3-for-8 from the field for nine points.

Carly Fabbri has saved her best for last as she has had a breakout senior campaign. The senior earned praise from Meier last season before both teams played.

“It is a mini-me out there. It really is. She’s really smart, knows what to do with the ball. Completely just the moxie that Tricia has you see in her daughter, too.”

The eighth-seeded Miami Hurricanes will tip-off against the ninth-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats at 1:30 p.m. at the Gampel Pavilion on the University of Connecticut campus. The winner will advance to most likely face the UConn Huskies. Be sure to follow @QBSN for updates throughout the game as well as @joshmsilverman and @shanedennehy15.

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Quinnipiac to faceoff against No. 8 Miami in first round of NCAA Tournament