Quinnipiac women’s basketball defeats Dayton 72-66 in mid-major showdown

Photo Courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Sierra Goodwill

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team knew that starting the season 0-3 would eventually come with its perks.

Quinnipiac led wire to wire in its 72-66 victory over fellow mid-major power in the Dayton Flyers on Tuesday night in Hamden. This win was the Bobcats second straight and improved their overall record to 2-3.

“In the past we haven’t started the season off so strong with teams like (Iowa, Missouri, Ohio State),” senior foward Sarah Shewan said. “We usually see them at the end and then it’s like a shocker. So seeing them at the beginning it’s kind of like we know we have to be at that level and we will be at the end of the year.”

Despite the elevated competition, head coach Tricia Fabbri knows that losses can be defeating.

“I think it’s hard to see sometimes when we are playing the competition that we’re playing and having losses that we’re still doing some good things,” Fabbri said. “With an experienced team, we knew that, but we wanted to get the reward of a win.”

Aryn McClure, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, was sidelined with a minor injury, but Shewan had no trouble stepping up in her absence.

The senior tied her career-high with 24 points and also grabbed 14 rebounds for a double-double.

“Definitely missing Aryn I felt a little bit of pressure,” she said. “But I wanted to play for her because she wasn’t there. I think that really helped me in the game and offensively.”

Fabbri was thankful that she had such a seasoned player to turn to when her star was stuck on the bench.

“It’s nice to have players and not count on young ones to make that big jump,” the head coach said. “Sarah has so much experience and has been pivotal to this program and our success. It was so nice to see her produce against Dayton – a big, strong team.”

The Bobcats were significantly out-sized by the Flyers, but the statistics did not indicate that. Quinnipiac out-rebounded Dayton 49-45 and junior Jen Fay broke her career record with 14 of those boards. Fabbri commended the thoroughness of her team’s effort.

“I thought wire to wire it was our most complete four quarter game,” she said. “We’ve been able to now put together seven good quarters in a row and, at this point in the season, you want to see improvement every day and we’re seeing that”

Sophomore Vanessa Udoji has also seen a significant increase in minutes this season and has taken advantage of her larger role. She started 1-for-8 from the field Tuesday night, but eventually finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, including two clutch three-pointers in the second half and a layup that helped seal the victory.

She says the difference in her game is she now believes in her abilities.

“Watching how our previous guard Adily Martucci played, she played hard and she played with confidence. With her not being here I felt that someone had to step up in her position,” Udoji said. “My only thing coming into this year was confidence. I’ve been trusting my training, I’ve been working all summer and off-season. I just focus on attacking, attacking, attacking and staying aggressive.”

Quinnipiac now heads back on the road for a pair of tough games in Virginia. The first is a meeting with Richmond on Friday, Dec. 1 followed by a game against Hampton on Sunday, Dec. 3.

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