HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University women's basketball team has been named the NCAA Division I Statistical Champion for turnover margin, which was officially released by the NCAA Statistics Department from Indianapolis. Evidenced by its 8.55 turnover margin, Quinnipiac boasted one of the most suffocating defenses in the nation en route to its first Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
"It's the exclamation mark to an historic season," said head coach Tricia Fabbri. "It's truly an award that was earned by everyone on our team and will be shared by everyone."
"Defense was preached everyday - two words in particular - pressure and pace," said Fabbri. "It was our recipe for an historic 30 wins this year. The teams defensive ability to turn our opponents over and our teams ability to take care of the ball allowed us to average close to nine more possessions per game against our opponent. In more simple terms, it was like us starting the game with the ball nine times before the opponent could play!"
Quinnipiac's tenacious defense outlasted SEC power Kentucky (8.19) for the best turnover margin in the country, while Duquesne, FGCU and Hampton rounded out the top five. Due in large part to their defense, the Bobcats joined the likes of nine nationally-ranked teams, including No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Louisville, No. 4 Baylor and No. 5 California, as teams with 30 or more wins this year. Furthermore, Quinnipiac also shares a distinction with 15 other schools with 52 or more wins over the last two seasons.
Along with their No. 1 ranking in turnover margin, Quinnipiac was also among the nation's best in several other categories. The Bobcats were No. 5 in win-loss percentage (90.9); No. 6 in steals per game (12.4); No. 7 in assists per game (17.0); No. 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.18); No. 19 in three-point field goal percentage defense (26.5); and No. 23 in three-point field goal percentage (35.0).
Two players in particular – Felicia Barron (Springfield, Mass.) and Gillian Abshire (Washington, D.C.) – served as the catalysts of Quinnipiac's statistical success. Barron finished fourth in the nation in steals per game (3.61) - following a season where she led the nation in steals a year ago - while Abshire finished 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.41). Both figures were good enough for tops in the Northeast Conference.
Under head coach Tricia Fabbri's tutelage, the Bobcats collected their first 30-win season in program history, also an NEC first as well, which included a perfect 18-0 in the regular season. Quinnipiac made their third national postseason appearance with a bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 13 seed in the Bridgeport Region.
Quinnipiac fans should refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any news, information and highlights. When finalized, the 2013-14 women's basketball schedule will be available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.