HAMDEN, Conn. The Quinnipiac University women's basketball team won its home opener against Delaware, 50-41, Tuesday night at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Senior guard Mandy Pennewell (West Chester, Pa.) led the Bobcats with a season-high 21 points, including 14 in the second half. The win improves Quinnipiac's record to 4-1 this season, while the loss evens Delaware's mark at 2-2.
The Blue Hens led after the first 20 minutes of play, 23-17. Pennewell was the only Quinnipiac player in the first half with more than one field goal, shooting 2-of-6 from the floor. Her seven points were a team high, while Delaware's Vanessa Kobongo led all players at halftime with eight.
After the Blue Hens built the lead to five, 28-23, Pennewell and Brianna Rooney (Guilford, Conn.) hit three-point field goals on consecutive trips down court for the Bobcats. Pennewell's three-pointer came with the shot clock expiring on an inbound pass from Erin Kerner (Erie, Pa.) underneath the basket. After recording a steal on the next Delaware possession, Pennewell pushed the ball up to Rooney for the open three-pointer.
Kabongo's jumper with just under seven minutes remaining gave the Blue Hens the 37-36 lead. Quinnipiac did not waste any time regaining the lead as freshman Jacki Mann (Rutherford, N.J.) fought her way through three Delaware defenders at the free-throw line for the go-ahead basket on the next possession.
Kerner's 17-foot jump shot with just over a minute remaining gave the Bobcats a seven-point advantage and sealed the victory. Quinnipiac shot 41.1 percent in the second half, nearly 22 percent better than in the first.
Rooney finished with a game-high seven steals, the second most in a single game in the program's Division I history. In the team's opener at Stony Brook on Nov. 14, freshman guard Felicia Barron (Springfield, Mass.) also had seven steals. In addition, Rooney recorded a game-high six assists. Pennewell's five three-point field goals tied the team's season high set by her and Sarah McGowan (Red Lion, Pa.) against Vermont on Saturday.
"We played a lot better and settled in in the second half," Head Coach Tricia Fabbri said. "Mandy really helped us on the baseline and on the perimeter with those big shots and we played really well defensively to hold a team like Delaware to 41 points."
The Bobcats return to action Sunday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center as they take on Providence College. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off.