January 10, 2009

Women's Basketball Defeats Saint Francis (Pa.), 77-66

HAMDEN, Conn. – Mandy Pennewell (West Chester, Pa.) and Erin Kerner reached milestone scoring figures as the Quinnipiac University women's basketball team defeated Saint Francis (Pa.), 77-66, Saturday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Pennewell scored her 1,000th career point, while Kerner became just the second player in the program's Division I history to reach 1,500 points in her career. Kerner finished with a game-high 32 points, while Pennewell added 11. The win snaps the Bobcats' three-game losing streak and improves their Northeast Conference record to 3-1 and 9-4 overall. The Red Flash falls to 2-2 in conference play and 3-11 overall with the loss.

Just over a minute into the game, Pennewell reached the 1,000-point plateau on a layup after cutting through the Saint Francis defense. She became the 16th player in program history and the seventh since Quinnipiac joined Division I a decade ago to reach the mark in scoring. The senior guard helped the Bobcats jump out to a five-point halftime lead, 34-29, with eight points in the first half.

Kerner began the game shooting 4-of-9 from the field in the first half to lead all scorers with 10 points at the break. Kerner, Pennewell and Brianna Rooney (Guilford, Conn.) helped the Bobcats finish the first half with a perfect 5-for-5 mark from three-point range.

Quinnipiac started the second on an 11-0 run, holding the Red Flash scoreless for the first 3:33 of the half. Kerner scored seven in the run, including a three-point play after being fouled by Saint Francis' Sarah Thorn on a jump shot from the right side. The Bobcats pushed their lead to as much as 18 midway through the second half. Kerner's jumper with 15:22 left gave the Bobcats a 49-35 lead and pushed her over 1,500 points for her career, joining Ashlee Kelly as the only other Quinnipiac player to reach the mark.

Late in the second, the Red Flash began to chip away at the lead, pulling to within seven points with just over two minutes remaining. All nine of Kerner's free throws came down the stretch as the Bobcats held off the Saint Francis surge.

Freshman Jacinda Dunbar (Edison, N.J.) recorded a career and game-high eight rebounds in her first start of the season. She also added four points and two steals in the game. Rooney and Jacki Mann (Rutherford, Conn.) each finished with nine points, while Rooney added seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.

The Red Flash's Samantha Leach scored 26 points in the loss on 11-of-15 shooting from the field, while adding a team-high seven rebounds. Brittany Lilley was the only player for Saint Francis to reach double figures in scoring with 12 points. She was held to just two field goals in the game, but connected on seven free throws.

The Quinnipiac defense held the Red Flash to 39.3 % shooting and forced 26 turnovers in the game. Mann had the Bobcats' only block of the game, sending Leach's shot back with 7:12 left in the second half to help maintain the Bobcats' lead.

Quinnipiac returns to action on Monday Jan. 12, when it hosts Robert Morris at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. The Bobcats and Colonials are set to tip-off at 7 p.m.