Quinnipiac to play Saint Peter’s on Wednesday after Peacocks eliminate Red Foxes on Day One


Photo: Saint Peter’s Athletics

Noah Epstein

Saint Peter’s eliminated Marist on Tuesday by winning 49-29 in the first round of the MAAC Tournament, led by Sky Castro’s 19 rebounds and Kendrea Williams’ 10-point first quarter, and will take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. 

The Peacocks were the 7-seed taking on the 10-seeded Red Foxes in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the site for all women’s and men’s MAAC Tournament games throughout the week. This was the same matchup as last year’s MAAC Championship, where it was the 1-seeded Red Foxes beating the 3-seeded Peacocks. The Peacocks got their revenge Tuesday against the reigning champs. 

Williams, Saint Peter’s graduate student guard, scored 10 of the team’s first 12 points. After trailing 6-2, she scored two three-pointers and two layups to help the Peacocks go on a 10-0 run. 

Both teams had poor shooting first halves, with Saint Peter’s shooting 28% from the field and Marist shooting just 18%. However, Saint Peter’s shot the ball much better in the second half, shooting 43% from the field and 40% from downtown. Freshman Kaila Dawkins, senior Kourtney Crane and Castro all had six points in the second half, with the sophomore Castro grabbing 10 rebounds in the half and 19 in the game.

Marist finished the game shooting 19% from the field, and going 1-22 from three-point range. The Red Foxes’ first three came with under a minute to go in the third quarter. 

Saint Peters’ 20-point win came without its leading scorer, junior center Kassondra Brown. Brown started in all 28 games she played in this year, and leads the Peacocks with 14.9 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. She was unable to play on Tuesday, and Saint Peter’s head coach Marc Mitchell credited the rest of the team for playing well in her absence.

“When you lose a player as prominent as Kassondra Brown, everyone has to step up and everyone did that,” Mitchell said.

The players stepped up and they’re heading into a quarterfinal matchup against 2-seeded Quinnipiac on Wednesday.

The Bobcats have beat Saint Peter’s in both matchups this year, back on Jan. 13 and Jan. 17. Quinnipiac won by 13 in the first game and by 22 in the second. Quinnipiac junior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood scored a season-high 31 points and Williams scored 25 for the Peacocks in the first game between the teams. In the second matchup, the Quinnipiac seniors led the way for the team. Mackenzie DeWees scored 21 points and had eight rebounds, Amani Free had 19 points and 16 rebounds and Rose Caverly  scored 12 points.

Bobcats junior Mikala Morris led the team with 9.9 rebounds per game and was second on the team with 11.8 points per game. She had 13 double-doubles out of the team’s 29 games. However, in the two games against Saint Peter’s, Morris totaled 10 points and eight rebounds combined. 

Despite Morris having below average games both times she’s faced Saint Peter’s, Mitchell knows how dangerous she can be. He will have Castro guarding Morris, coming off her 19-rebound and nine-point performance on Tuesday.

“It’s gonna be a great matchup,” Mitchell said. “Mikala Morris is also one of the best players in our league. I think that Sky (Castro) is up to the challenge.”

When trying to find success that the Peacocks have had against Quinnipiac, it’s impossible – they’ve had none. The teams have played each other 16 times, with the first matchup coming back in 2014. And the Bobcats have won all 16. 

“Quinnipiac is a whole different beast,” Mitchell said. “They got so many weapons. They can beat you inside, they can beat you outside. It really doesn’t matter the style of game that you play; Quinnipiac can adjust to it and beat you either way.”

The Bobcats will look to go 17-0 all-time against the Peacocks in their quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m.