SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the second consecutive year, the Quinnipiac University women's basketball team will play in the conference tournament championship for a chance to be included in the field of 64. The fourth-seeded Bobcats knocked off top-seeded Iona College, 79-68, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield on Sunday – solidifying a spot in the MAAC Championship tomorrow afternoon.
Quinnipiac certainly has the attention of the MAAC, earning its way to the championship game in its inaugural season in the conference. Last year, in its final season as a member of the Northeast Conference, Quinnipiac won the championship game to make an appearance in it's first-ever NCAA Tournament. This will be the Bobcats third finals appearance (2005-06, 2012-13) since joining Division I. Quinnipiac will the face off against second-seeded Marist in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference final. The championship game will air live nationally on ESPNU at 2 p.m.
Quinnipiac, now 21-11 on the season, was led by Brittany McQuain (Independence, Mo.) and Jasmine Martin (Sicklerville, N.J.). McQuain, the NEC Tournament MVP from a year ago, filled the stat sheet with a tremendous all-around performance, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three steals. She was 7-of-11 from the field.
Martin matched McQuain's point total of 17 with 13 of those coming in the second half. She was 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, helping Quinnipiac clinch the victory in the waning minutes. Nikoline Ostergaard (Vedbaek, Denmark) added 13 points and four rebounds, while Samantha Guastella (Red Bank, N.J.) totaled 12 points and eight rebounds. She had seven through the first 20 minutes.
Trailing for most of the first half, Quinnipiac brought Bobcat nation to its feet right before the halftime whistle. Quinnipiac erased a six-point deficit with a 6-0 run to close out the half, leaving a 24-24 deadlock at the break.
The swing didn't stop there as Quinnipiac scored the first five points of the second half to make it an 11-0 Bobcat run. The lead then ballooned to 12 points with McQuain, Martin and Guastella spearheading the charge. Quinnipiac remained in control for the remainder of the game, and secured the victory from the charity stripe making 11-of-12 in the final two minutes.
Rebounding and free-throws played a large role in the outcome of the game. Quinnipiac controlled a 45-36 edge on the glass, which featured 17 on the offensive end. Those resulted in 20 second chance points for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac also cashed in from the free-throw line (24-32), gaining an eight-point advantage from the stripe.
Camryn Warner (Keene, N.J.) chipped in with eight points and six rebounds in another solid performance. Gillian Abshire (Washington, D.C.) had four points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. She's just two assists shy of the all-time single-season assist record at Quinnipiac.
Adily Martucci (Waterford, Conn.) finished with six points and Ellen Cannon (West Chester, Pa.) closed out the scoring summary with the final two free-throws of the game. Quinnipiac shot 58.1 percent from the floor in the second half.
Iona was led by Damika Martinez who poured in a game-high 32 points on 11-of-25 shooting. Joy Adams finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Iona, now 26-5 overall, will likely represent the MAAC in the WNIT.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets for the MAAC Championship can visit the MAAC Tournament homepage at www.ticketmaster.com.
Student-Athletes, parents and fans can download all 2013-14 QU Athletics schedules to your laptop and mobile devices for free by clicking in the iCalendar link at the bottom of each sport's homepage or the master schedule page. Fans can also follow Quinnipiac Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@QUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates.