Bobcats eliminated by Jaspers in MAAC Tourney for second straight year


Photo: Peyton McKenzie

Noah Epstein

Dee Davis’s 11-point third quarter and Petra Juric’s double-double led the Manhattan Jaspers to a 50-43 upset victory over the Quinnipiac Bobcats Thursday afternoon, eliminating the Bobcats in the MAAC Tournament for the second straight year.

Davis picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game and sat for the remainder of the first half. 

Then the senior guard started the second half and she took over the third quarter.

Davis scored 11 points on 3-5 shooting and grabbed a couple of rebounds in the 10 minutes. Quinnipiac used Jackie Grisdale on Davis, as well as a zone, but nothing worked against her. She was unstoppable. She turned a three-point halftime deficit into a two-point Jaspers lead heading into the final quarter.

Davis finished with a game-high 15 points, six rebounds and she didn’t pick up a foul at all in the second half. She was energetic throughout the game, fist-pumping and flexing after big plays down the stretch.

“Before the game, [head coach Heather Vulin] asked us what we would bring to the game,” Davis said. “Bella [Nascimento] said ‘swagger.’ We sort of feed off each other, so I said ok Bella said she’s gonna bring swagger to the game, why can’t I?”

Sophomore center Petra Juric praised Davis’s dominant third quarter, as well as the impact she has had on the Jaspers.

“I think everyone knows how important of a player Dee Dee is to our team,” Juric said. “She brings a new level to our offense. I honestly love playing with her, she always sees the court.”

Juric was dominant on both ends the entire game. She followed up her 12-point, 10-rebound performance against Saint Peter’s on Tuesday with another double-double on Thursday, as she scored 12 points and tallied 11 boards.

The No. 6 Jaspers, who beat the No. 3 Bobcats in last year’s MAAC semifinal game to go to the championship, made fewer mistakes than the Bobcats and out-hustled them on Thursday.

Manhattan’s defense caused Quinnipiac to turn the ball over 22 times, 13 of those turnovers being steals. Vulin takes pride in Manhattan planning well on the defensive end, as she said the Jaspers don’t ever want it to feel like just one person is guarding a ball carrier.

“The thing we talk about is we want it to feel like two-on-one because they know the next person’s ready to go get them if they try to put the ball on the floor,” Heather Vulin said. “So one of our calls was to try to turn them over, and also try to get double-digit steals because we feel that when we get double-digit steals, we get energy points and are able to really explode offensively.”

The Jaspers were aggressive throughout the game, fighting for extra possessions on the offensive glass and drawing fouls that put them at the free-throw line.

Manhattan had 10 offensive rebounds, compared to Quinnipiac’s six, and took 13 more shots from the charity stripe. The Jaspers went 14-18, while the Bobcats went 3-5. 

Mary Baskerville and Rose Caverly were the only Bobcats to score in double digits. Baskerville had 12 points on 6-7 shooting, as well as nine boards. Caverly scored 10 points, to go along with four rebounds and assists.

Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri stressed how important both grad students have been to the team.

“This year, I don’t know where we would be without them,” Fabbri said. “They are the epitome of perseverance and resilience. They have really played extremely well all year for us to be in a position to get to 21 wins… I’m really proud, they should hold their heads up high. They’re such competitors that it hurts right now to think that we’re not moving on.”

Fabbri called her players fun and praised their determination to keep getting better throughout the season.

“To see the arc that we did get better. To win 12 out of 14 to finish out a season. It just ended too soon. So there’s much admiration and respect for these young ladies.”

Manhattan will face No. 2 Niagara on Friday at 1:30 p.m.