MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - After trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half, the Quinnipiac University women's basketball team's late comeback bid fell just short, falling to Robert Morris, 61-57, Saturday afternoon at the Sewall Center. The Colonials earned their first outright Northeast Conference regular season championship with the four-point win as they improve to 15-1 in league play and 20-7 overall this season. The Bobcats drop to 5-11 in the NEC with the loss and 10-17 overall.
"We felt that we could play with them," head coach Tricia Fabbri said. "This is a team that likes to move up and down the floor and we know that our turnovers were what killed us. We had a spark in the second half and I wish that one three-point field went down to give us the lead, but it didn't and they controlled the play at the end the game."
Quinnipiac made mistakes throughout the first half, but trailed by just four points at the break, 33-29. The Bobcats had 16 turnovers after the first 20 minutes of play, but the play of juniors Lailah Pratt (Palmyra, N.J.) and Courtney Kaminski (Dudley, Mass.) helped Quinnipiac remain in the game. Pratt matched her first-half performance of Thursday night as she scored eight against the Colonials. Kaminski dominated the low post, scoring 11 first-half points for the Bobcats.
Robert Morris came out of the locker room to start the second half on a quick 6-2 run. It appeared as if they would sustain that pressure throughout the rest of the half, but Quinnipiac's defense limited looks and the Bobcats' offense at the other end capitalized to bridge the gap.
Two huge three-point field goals from just in front of the Quinnipiac coaching staff by junior guard Alyssa Jann (Westford, Mass.) sparked the Bobcats down the stretch. Freshman Lisa Lebak (Robbinsville, N.J.) also connected on a deep three in the final five minutes to pull her team even closer.
Senior Kathleen Neyens (Jaffrey, N.H.) pulled down the only offensive rebound by a Quinnipiac player in the entire game with five minutes left and got the Bobcats to within two points, 54-52, with a second chance lay-up. After both teams failed on subsequent possessions to score, Lebak found a slashing Kaminski in the lane for an elbow jumper to tie the game, 54-54, with 3;20 remaining.
That was the last time the game was tied as Robert Morris retook the lead and used a clutch three-point field goal from Vega Gimeno-Martinez in the right corner with 2:06 left to put the Colonials up five. Free-throw shooting by Robert Morris sealed the win in the final minutes, 61-57, despite Lebak hitting on a 25-foot three pointer as time expired.
The Colonials benefited from 28 Quinnipiac turnovers, attempting 23 more shots in the game. Unfortunately for Robert Morris, the team connected on just one more field goal in the game as the Bobcats outshot them 48.9 percent (22-45) to 33.8 percent (23-68) from the floor.
Kaminski finished with a game-high four blocks to go along with her game-high 15 points. Lebak led the Bobcats with four assists in the game, while the team dished out 17 total assists to the Colonials' 10 in the game.
The Bobcats return to action in Thursday afternoon when they host Monmouth in the final home game of the season. The two teams will tip from Lender Court at 5 p.m. Quinnipiac defeated the Hawks Jan. 2 by six points, 60-54, in the first conference game of the season.