Quinnipiac Q&A with Q30’s Sierra Goodwill
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This is Quinnipiac’s third trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last five years, so it’s definitely hungry for that first win. The Bobcats have continually climbed the ranks at the mid-major level, and are a win in the NCAA Tournament away from opening some eyes around the country. Their strong out-of-conference resume and postseason experience make them a serious dark horse. However, Marquette definitely poses a big threat to Quinnipiac and a lot of things are going to have to be going right for QU and wrong for MU for the No. 12/No. 5 upset to happen.
Quinnipiac definitely prides itself on defense. Fifth year senior Adily Martucci will wreck havoc on any guard and has no trouble locking down opposing teams’ top shooter. But, the Bobcats also fall victim to slow starts quite often. If this happens against the Golden Eagles, things could get out of hand quick. If Marquette tries to push the pace on Quinnipiac, you could see the Bobcats shooting the first open shot every possession and firing with no hesitation from three. If the shots aren’t falling, and QU can’t slow the pace, it’ll be in trouble.
Quinnipiac has a pretty balanced attack. On any given night, someone can get the hot hand and lead all scorers. This team has won three consecutive regular season championships and has only had one First Team selection in that time span. That sums up their team style of play. But as of late, Martucci has been knocking down her shots as well as playing great defense as she’s made it very clear that she wants to win a NCAA Tournament game before her career is over. Aryn McClure is also a consistent contributor for the Bobcats as she scored 28 points in the MAAC Championship game. Her athleticism lets her score from pretty much anywhere on the court, but she’s also very good at drawing defenders and then finding the open player.
I think that almost all of Quinnipiac’s players are under-the-radar since there’s not one or two that are significant leading scorers. Jen Fay, Carly Fabbri and Morgan Manz can all be hot from three on any night and Paula Strautmane and Sarah Shewan are a strong inside base. This is a hard question to answer because it’s really just the player whose shots are falling, because then the rest of the team will do their best to dish it to her on offensive possessions. Also, every player stays confident in her shot no matter if it’s going in or not. They take a lot of shots. This allows players who might start cold, to shake it off mid-game and drain it when it matters most.
The end of January Quinnipiac hit a little bump in the road and went 1-3 over the span of four games. That was an unusual feeling for the Bobcats, who aren’t used to losing that frequently. I really think the team just refocused on and off the court, developed a goal of making it to the NCAA Tournament, got everyone on the team on board and haven’t looked back. Quinnipiac has kind of accepted its identity of being hot and cold on offense but deadly on defense, relying on forced turnovers and low shooting percentages. I don’t think the Bobcats are intimidated by any opponent and just view the other team as a road block to their ultimate goal. That laser focus from Quinnipiac is what could make it a very exciting game on Saturday.
The Bobcats are definitely riding momentum into this tournament. It is tough to take almost two weeks off and expect to come back on the court and have your best game right off the bat. But head coach Tricia Fabbri said her team is really comfortable with being a little slow to start offensively since that is kind of who they’ve been now the whole season. She has confidence that her team can combat that by dictating pace and making sure that none of Marquette’s buckets come easy. Also, there’s no one hungrier than Martucci now who’s the only player in the program to be at all three NCAA Tournament appearances and she’s ready to make the third time the charm.