HAMDEN, Conn. The Quinnipiac University women's basketball team defeated Monmouth, 57-52, Saturday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Erin Kerner's (Erie, Pa.) 14 points and three steals led the way as Quinnipiac won its Northeast Conference opener. The Bobcats improve to 7-1 overall, while the Hawks fall to 0-1 in NEC play and 4-3 overall
"We hung in there today," said Head Coach Tricia Fabbri. "There is nothing easy about these conference games. We played well defensively to hold a very good team to 52 points. I know it wasn't pretty, but this was an important win for us."
Monmouth opened the game with a 9-2 run, led by two-time NEC Player of the Week Jennifer Bender's seven points over the first four minutes of play. The Bobcats chipped away at the Hawks' lead, pulling to within a point, 11-10 at the 12:37 mark. The two teams would trade possessions over much of the half before Quinnipiac took its first lead of the game on a Kerner basket with less than four minutes to play. Freshman Jackie Mann (Rutherford, N.J.) scored four of her eight first half points in the final minute to give the Bobcats a 32-29 lead heading into the locker room.
Quinnipiac boasted a balanced offensive attack, with seven different players scoring in the opening period, including three with at least six points. Mann was the Bobcats' top offensive player in the first 20 minutes with eight points. Monmouth's Bender paced the Hawks' scoring, dropping in 13 of their 29 first half points. Bender also had five rebounds and three assists in the first frame.
Alexis Canady quickly erased Monmouth's halftime deficit with a three-pointer to tie the game at 32-32. After both teams traded baskets, Kerner scored six straight points for the Bobcats. Monmouth's Lakia Barber kept the Hawks in the game, scoring eight of the Hawks' 15 points through the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Barber's four straight points pulled Monmouth within a basket, 48-46, before Quinnipiac's shot clock violation gave the Hawks the ball. Marisa Jimenez knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing to give the Hawks a 49-48 lead with 7:12 to play.
After Barber hit 1-of-2 at the free throw line to give Monmouth a 50-48 lead, Krystal Lazos (Medford, N.J.) scored on a backdoor cut that resulted in a lay-up to tie the game. Lazos then put back an offensive rebound off to give Quinnipiac a 52-50 lead. Kathleen Neyens (Jaffrey, N.H.) followed by knocking down a jumper take a four-point lead, 54-50, with less than four minutes remaining. Barber hit two free throws down the stretch, mixed in with another free throw by Lazos as Quinnipiac held a 55-52 lead. Following a desperation shot by Monmouth, Lazos hit a pair of free throw with two seconds on the clock to seal the game, 57-52.
Brianna Rooney (Guilford, Conn.) led the Bobcats with four assists and nine rebounds in the game, while adding seven points. Mann's eight points and two assists were career highs, while finishing a block short of matching her high of five set against Delaware in the team's home opener.
The Bobcats return to action on Saturday, Dec. 13 when they head to the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, N.Y., to take on the Seahawks of Wagner College in a conference match-up set for 4 p.m.