Game #29 NEC Quarterfinals
No. 4 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (18-10, 11-7 NEC)
No. 5 Monmouth University Hawks (17-12, 11-7 NEC)
Saturday, March 7, 2009 2:30 p.m.
William H. Pitt Center Fairfield, Conn.
The Quinnipiac University women's basketball team enters its eighth consecutive Northeast Conference Tournament and ninth since joining the league ten seasons ago when the fourth-seeded Bobcats take on the fifth-ranked Monmouth Hawks Saturday. The game is scheduled to start no earlier than 2:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart's Pitt Center. Quinnipiac, Monmouth and Saint Francis (Pa.) all finished tied for third in the conference standings with 11-7 NEC records, but due to the unbalanced schedule, the Red Flash earned the No. 3 seed and a first-round game with No. 6 Robert Morris. The top seed and tournament hosts from Sacred Heart take on Mount St. Mary's in the first game on Saturday. Central Connecticut and Fairleigh Dickinson will play in the third game with the Blue Devils as the tournaments' No. 2 seed and the Knights finishing seventh in the conference standings.
On The Air
Quinnipiac's first-round game can be heard on WQUN.com's live webstream. Bill Schweizer will handle the play-by-play, while Bill Mecca will add color analysis. The game can also be seen on the Pack Network's live video broadcast. Both can be accessed by clicking the appropriate links above.
The Hawks and Bobcats split the season series this year with each team winning one game on their home floor. Quinnipiac took the first match-up, 57-52, on Dec. 6 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in both teams' first NEC game of the season. Monmouth defeated the Bobcats, 60-48, on Jan. 17 in the second and final meeting of the regular season between the two teams. It was the second win in a late-season push for the Hawks that saw them win 12 of their final 15 games to pull even with the Bobcats and Red Flash in the standings.
Season In Review
Quinnipiac began the season 8-1, including wins over Vermont, 72-53, at the Catamount Classic and Big East opponent Providence, 78-69, Nov. 30 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Quinnipiac's biggest win of the season came on Dec. 3 when it defeated defending America East Champion Hartford, 73-61, at home in the first match-up between the Bobcats and Hawks in more than five years. After starting the NEC schedule 6-2, the Bobcats put together a four-game winning streak to finish the season 11-7 in conference play and 18-10 overall.
In her final week of regular-season play, senior Erin Kerner (Erie, Pa.) averaged 23.5 points per game en route to her third NEC Player of the Week award of the season. Kerner shared the weekly honor for the second-straight week as she led the Bobcats to its second-consecutive weekend sweep. The three weekly accolades were the most since winning four Rookie of the Week honors during her freshman year.
Breezy Breaks Away
Senior guard Brianna Rooney (Guilford, Conn.) made a strong push to repeat as the NEC Defensive Player of the Year after recording seven steals in her final regular-season game with the team on Monday night against Wagner. Rooney led the league with 70 steals (2.59 per game) in her final season. Last season, she became the first Quinnipiac player honored as the league's top defensive player.
Pennewell Tickles The Twine
Mandy Pennewell (West Chester, Pa.) wrapped up her regular season second in the NEC in three-point field goals. The senior guard finished the year with a team-high 68 trifectas; an average of 2.43 per game. She also was 10th in the conference in three-point field-goal percentage with a .366 mark this season.
If You Aint First...
Rooney finished the season with the best free-throw percentage in the conference for the second year in a row. She connected on .887 of her free-throw attempts this season, missing just eight attempts all year (63-71). As a junior, she hit 73-of-81 from the line for a league-best .901 percentage. Rooney also finished the season fourth in the conference in assists with a 4.22 per game average.
Bronze Is Very Nice
Kerner ended her final year with the Bobcats third in the NEC in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game in 28 games this season. Her 491 points this season give her 1,770 in her career, a figure that puts her first in Quinnipiac's Division I history and second all-time.
The Bobcats finished the season as the league leaders in steals with one fewer game played than any other team in the conference. Quinnipiac recorded 275 steals this season for an average of 9.82 a game. The 275 in 28 games were nine more than Long Island's 266 in 29 games played.
Give Aways And Take Aways
Quinnipiac's turnover margin of +3.64 was the highest in the NEC this season. The Bobcats averaged 16.8 turnovers a game as a team, while causing opponents to commit 20.4 a contest. Wagner was second with a +1.28 figure.
Rooney set a career high in assists with 10 on Monday against Wagner, while matching her career high with seven steals. Her previous high of nine assists was accomplished twice before, including earlier this season at Robert Morris on Feb. 14. Her seven-steal performance was the second time this season that the senior guard accomplished the feat, matching her mark from Nov. 25 against Delaware in the team's home opener.
Stats Wrap Up
Quinnipiac ended the season with an average margin of victory of 13.38 points. The Bobcats won two games by more than 20 points, while taking 13 wins by 10 to 20 points. The team won just three games by single digits.
Quinnipiac's 23rd rebound of the game against Wagner was the 1,000th team board of the season. Junior Kathleen Neyens (Jaffrey, N.H.) was the team's top rebounder in 2008-09 season with 147. Her 5.3 rebounding average was also the top-team figure, while also having the highest single-game mark when during the year when she pulled down 13 boards Feb. 9 at Sacred Heart.
Late Post Play
Down the stretch, the Bobcats' post-play solidified the offense. Freshmen Jacki Mann (Rutherford, N.J.) and Jacinda Dunbar's (Edison, N.J.) strong play in the final two weekends of the season helped propel Quinnipiac to an 11-7 conference mark. Mann matched her career-high of nine points against CCSU on Feb. 28 and followed that with an eight-point, seven-rebound performance against Wagner in the season finale. Dunbar scored eight points and had a team-high eight boards in the win over the Seahawks.
Junior Krystal Lazos (Medford, N.J.) missed just two shots in the final two wins of the season. She was 3-of-3 from the floor for six points in the Bobcats' 17th-straight win over the Blue Devils. The next game, Lazos was 2-of-4 from the field, while 3-of-5 from the free-throw line for seven points against Wagner.
Four Score And Four Years Ago
The 10 assists Rooney dished out against Wagner in the team's last game was the first time a Quinnipiac player had reached double digits in assists since Kim Fitzpatrick accomplished the feat Jan. 6, 2004 against Fairleigh Dickinson.
How They Fared...
The Bobcats were swept in the season series by the top-seeded Pioneers this season, while also dropping its only game against Sacred Heart's first-round opponent, Mount St. Mary's, 70-64, on Feb. 2. Quinnipiac took both games from CCSU this season and split with FDU, winning 74-53 on Lender Court on Feb. 23 against the Knights. Against Western Pennsylvania teams, the team posted a 3-1 mark. The Bobcats swept Robert Morris, while splitting with the Red Flash, winning their one game with Saint Francis (Pa.) on Jan. 10 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center, 77-66.
Keys To Victory
When Quinnipiac outshot its opponents this season, the team posted a 13-0 mark. In 17 of the Bobcats' wins this season, they led at halftime. The lone loss when trailing at the midway point came on Jan. 12 when they fell behind 30-19 to Robert Morris at the break and came back to win, 51-49, on a layup with eight seconds remaining by Dunbar. In all of Quinnipiac's wins this season, it held its opponents to 69 points of fewer; posting a record of 18-3.
I Feel Like We Have Seen This Before
The Bobcats and Hawks have met twice before in the NEC Tournament with each team winning once in the quarterfinals. In 2007, Monmouth was also then the fifth seed and defeated fourth-seeded Quinnipiac, 63-58. In the 2005 postseason, the No. 5 Bobcats handed the No. 4 Hawks a seven-point loss, 75-68, in West Long Branch, N.J. This will be the first NEC Tournament game played between at a neutral site.
Second Half Cats
Quinnipiac's mantra all season was putting teams away with solid second-half play. The Bobcats outscored their opponents by just a total of 11 points in the first half all season, 817-806. In the second period, Quinnipiac bested its competition by 94-total points, 993-899, over the course of the season.