Quinnipiac women’s basketball prepares for South Dakota State


Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn

Shane Dennehy

The court: the Carrier Dome.

The stage: the NCAA Tournament.

The expectations: the same; win and advance.

The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team is once again in the NCAA Tournament. Following a third consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament win, the Bobcats will now turn their attention back to the national stage with an opening round game against the No.6 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits of the Summit League.

When the bracket got released on Monday many viewed this as just a matchup between two mid-major teams, but Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri sees it as much more than that.

“It’s been said that it’s a great mid-major matchup, but I think anyone who knows women’s basketball knows that this matchup is bigger than mid-majors,” Fabbri said.

After Quinnipiac found out who it was playing, the coaches immediately got to work in scouting South Dakota State. Quinnipiac’s coaching staff compared South Dakota State to the Marist Red Foxes, who Quinnipiac just beat by 30 points in the MAAC championship game.

The Jackrabbits run a five out offense, which means all of their five players play around the three-point line. This offense allows for the Jackrabbits to stretch the defense and force one-on-one matchups. Quinnipiac knows that it will need to communicate on defense in order to contain an offense that averages over 80 points per game.

“It’s gonna be a great brand of basketball and it’s really almost a contrast in styles, as you look at how both of our teams have won. With South Dakota State averaging 80 (points) and then what (Quinnipiac) has been able to do defensively, holding teams to 50 (points),” Fabbri said.

South Dakota State all season long has been able to shoot the three ball and Quinnipiac will need to make South Dakota State’s shots as tough as possible.

“There’s some stuff that we haven’t seen but a lot of their actions we’ve defended at least once before,” Quinnipiac senior guard Edel Thornton said. “We did some scouting (Thursday) and we’re confident in our ability to defend their actions. I think if we can just focus on executing that throughout the game, we should be good.”

Both teams also know that it is different to shoot in the larger Carrier Dome, compared to other arenas that they usually play in.

Quinnipiac’s senior forward Aryn McClure jokingly addressed the topic.

“I’ve heard different things about the (Carrier) Dome,” said McClure. “It’s very hard to shoot. Good thing I’m not a shooter.”

Both of these programs have experience playing on this stage and both teams also received low seeds in last year’s tournament with South Dakota State receiving an eight seed and Quinnipiac receiving a nine seed.

Both teams are confident playing in March because of their experience and both teams know that they need to have the one game at a time mentality in order to play deep into the tournament.

“Just winning here before is just another big part of that,” Quinnipiac senior forward Jen Fay said. “We know what that feeling is to win a game, to win two games. Having that feeling, there’s nothing like that’s. We know what we can really do here.”

South Dakota State became a Division I program in 2004 and since that time it has advanced to the Second Round in both 2009 and 2016. The Jackrabbits will be hoping to advance farther than they ever have in the NCAA tournament while the Bobcats will be hoping for their second Sweet 16 run in the last three years.

No. 11 Quinnipiac tips-off against No.6 South Dakota State at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The winner of this game will play the winner of No.14 Fordham and No.3 Syracuse.

Quinnipiac looks to rely on its experience in 2019 NCAA Tournament:

How Quinnipiac is scouting a new opponent: