FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's basketball team lost, 51-34, to in-state rival Sacred Heart Thursday night at the William H. Pitt Center. The loss was the sixth in a row for the Bobcats who drop to 4-7 in Northeast Conference play and 9-13 overall. The Pioneers remain in first in the NEC standings as they improve their record to 10-1 in league play and 17-5 overall.
"We did what we wanted to do, which was keep them in the low 50's and give ourselves a chance to win," head coach Tricia Fabbri said. "It's hard to change systems overnight and be successful right away. We get another shot against them on Saturday afternoon. If we can make some more shots, we will be okay."
After one period of play, the Bobcats trailed by 10 points, 24-14. Freshman guard Ryann Simmons (Norwalk, Conn.) came off the bench to lead Quinnipiac in scoring in the opening half with five points. Sacred Heart's Callan Taylor led all players with 11 points in the first, while also missing a double-double by just two boards through 20 minutes of play. Kiley Evans added nine in the half to go with five boards.
Sacred Heart took advantage of costly Quinnipiac turnovers in the second half to pull away for the 17-point win, 51-34. The Pioneers built their lead to 23 midway through the second on the strength of rebounding on the offensive end of the floor, pulling down 13 in the game, and second-chance points. The Bobcats came into the contest as the top rebounding team in the NEC, but were held to a season-low 28 rebounds in the game.
Sophomore Jacinda Dunbar (Edison, N.J.) was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for the Bobcats, finishing with 10. Her sixth boards were one off the team high in the game as redshirt junior Courtney Kaminski (Dudley, Mass.) pulled down seven in 31 minutes of play.
Senior forward and team captain Kathleen Neyens (Jaffrey, N.H.) returned to the Bobcats' starting lineup after missing six games with an injury. Her three-point field goal 1:36 into the game gave Quinnipiac their last lead of the game at 5-2.
The 34 points was a season low for Quinnipiac. After going to the free-throw line just one time in the first 33 minutes of play, the Bobcats hit all eight shots from the charity stripe in the final minutes, finishing a perfect 9-for-9 in the game.
Callan recorded a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds in the game, while Evans led all scorers with 18 in the win. Last season's NEC Player of the Year Alissa Apo dropped in 15 points and added a game-high seven assists for Sacred Heart.
The Bobcats and Pioneers meet again on Saturday at noon at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden. The second game of the home-and-home series is part of the NEC's "Rivalry Week".