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Quinnipiac unveils Sweet 16 banner, defeats Northern Colorado in home opener

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

In its first game back in Hamden following its historic Sweet 16 run, Quinnipiac picked up right where it left off last season, winning 60-49 over Northern Colorado.

Prior to the game, Quinnipiac unveiled a banner honoring the Bobcats’ Sweet 16 run.

“It feels good but like we talked about in the lockerroom, that was about last season,” forward Paula Strautmane said. “This game, winning it, it started this new season and we are looking forward now.”

The Bobcats started out slow, missing their first nine attempts from the field. Paula Strautmane picked up the first Quinnipiac bucket over five minutes into the game.

Three straight losses on the road for head coach Tricia Fabbri’s squad to power-five conference teams and this rough start led to some worry on the bench.

“I was concerned because I knew we were really tight. We just weren’t looking how we were in practice the last couple of days,” Fabbri said. “We needed to just take a deep breath and relax and get back into the game.”

And that’s what they did.

The Bobcats came storming back going on a 17-5 run in the second quarter making what was once a 16 point Bears lead, just a four-point game.

Then, it was Vanessa Udoji who stole the show. The sophomore, who has started all four games this season, scored ten straight Bobcats points. Udoji finished the game with a team-high 14 points, three rebounds and two steals.

“Vanessa really just put us on her back with her three and a couple of her drives that gave us some really good breathing room,” Fabbri said. “We’re happy to see that from her.”

The guard credited her teammates for her breakout performance.

“What I was doing was for my teammates,” Udoji said. “They gave the me the confidence to attack strong and finish my layups.”

It was a team effort for the Bobcats Wednesday as it always seems to be. Five players scored at least seven points with Strautmane and Jen Fay joining Udoji in double digits. Fay led the way in the rebound category with ten boards on the afternoon.

Quinnipiac scored 18 unanswered at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth.

“It was a new ballgame,” Fabbri said. “We’ve been playing a lot of three quarter games. We certainly know this game takes four quarters, and that’s going to be an emphasis going forward.”

Up next for the Bobcats is a matchup with another mid-major power, Dayton. The Flyers will visit the TD Bank Sports Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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