Women’s Basketball Looks to Book Spot in Conference Championship at Hands of Monmouth

Will Fowler

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Photo: Liz Flynn

The No. 1 Quinnipiac women’s basketball team takes the floor again this morning at 11 a.m. when the take on the No. 4 Monmouth Hawks. Seeking their 51st consecutive conference win, the Bobcats are fully expected to punch their ticket to another conference championship – standing in their way is a Monmouth team that has consistently been one of the best teams in the paint this season.

 

Players to Watch

Quinnipiac: Jen Fay

Fay is the heart, blood and soul of this Bobcats team – that much became obvious when she went down late in the season with an injury and still acted as the vocal leader in team huddles. When she returned, she hit the ground running, averaging 15 points on 46 percent shooting from deep in the final five games of the regular season. On Friday, she paced the Bobcats with 13 points and 6 rebounds en route to a quarterfinal win against No. 9 Fairfield. Fay will undoubtedly be back in the starting lineup again, and she’ll look to continue her scorching hot form.

Monmouth: Alexa Middleton

At 6’2”, Middleton is used to being the tallest player on the floor. That won’t change on Sunday – at 6’1” Paula Strautmane is that tallest regular on Quinnipiac, meaning Middleton will have a height advantage no matter who she matches up with. The junior from Philadelphia averages 8 points and 8 rebounds a game, and despite only scoring 6 combined points in two games against the Bobcats this season, she pulled down 10 rebounds in their most recent meeting. Middleton using her height advantage in the middle will be crucial if the Hawks look to play giant slayers.

 

Keys to the Game

Quinnipiac: Stay in the moment

Everybody and their mothers will be expecting the Bobcats to survive and advance on Sunday, but Quinnipiac can’t overlook their semifinal opponents. All season long, the Bobcats’ have displayed their ‘one game at a time’ mentality – one that Paula Strautmane and Edel Thornton both mentioned in interviews yesterday. Tricia Fabbri has emphasized all season long that the semifinal game is arguably the most difficult one all season, even more so than the championship, and only time will tell if her message has resonated with a Quinnipiac squad itching for a chance to compete Monday afternoon.

Monmouth: Control the paint

Monmouth is the clear underdog in this contest, but there is one area where they have a clear advantage – under the rim. 6’2” Alexa Middleton and 6’5” Erica Balman will be the two tallest players to take the floor on Sunday, and don’t be surprised to see the ball consistently fed inside to them. The Hawks lead the conference in offensive rebounds and rebounding margin, which, if tapped into correctly, could lead to numerous second chance opportunities and plenty of one-and-done possessions on defense. If Monmouth is to win, their success inside comes first.

 

The Game

Tune in to No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 4 Monmouth on mixlr.com/qbsn as the Bobcats look to head to another conference championship game. Will Fowler and Kevin Higgins will have your call, and for live updates and postgame coverage, be sure to follow @QBSN on Twitter!