Bobcats grind out victory over Monmouth, win first conference game

By Robert Schilling

(HAMDEN, Conn.)—The  Bobcats capped off their four-game home-stand with their fourth straight victory Saturday afternoon in their first conference game of the year.  The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team defeated Monmouth University 57-52 behind senior Erin Kerner’s 14 points, while junior Krystal Lazos added 10.  Clutch defense down the stretch and a 16-for-18 showing from the free throw line helped the Bobcats fend off the Hawks.

Monmouth took control of the game early.  The Bobcats had no answer for Jennifer Bender (15 points, 10 rebounds) in the first half as she was able to get to the basket at will, and she and teammate Lakia Barber (13 points, 7 rebounds) controlled the boards.  QU started ice cold from the field and didn’t score until senior Brianna Rooney (7 points, 9 rebounds) hit a pair of free throws over three minutes in.  They didn’t have a field goal until Rooney made a breakaway layup a little less than five minutes in.

The Bobcats began to show more patience offensively and got better shots, and as a result were able to work their way into the lead.  Made baskets allowed QU to set up their full-court and half-court presses, which contributed to 15 Monmouth turnovers on
the afternoon and nine steals.  Quinnipiac led at the half, 32-29.

The second half was a grinder just like the first.  QU was able to contain Bender, and she could only match her 13 first half points with two in the second.   Nevertheless, Monmouth stayed in the game with hard work on the offensive glass, as they had 15 offensive rebounds on the day.  Barber picked up where Bender left off, with 11 points and five rebounds after the break.

Just when it seemed like Monmouth would take the lead, QU had an answer.  Lazos and freshman Jacinda Dunbar contributed a pair of timely 3-point plays, and the Bobcat defense continued to plague the Hawks and led to turnovers and steals.

With 27 seconds left to play and trailing by three, the Hawks had one last chance.  Marisa Jimenez hoisted up a contested three point shot that fell short, and Lazos grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 2.7 seconds left on the clock.  She hit both free throws, and the Bobcats prevailed 57-52.

Quinnipiac moves to 7-1 (1-0 NEC) and Monmouth falls to 4-3 (0-1 NEC).  The Bobcats now begin a month-long road trip and don’t return to the TD Banknorth Sports Center until Jan. 10.  Their next game is at Wagner on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m.

Click here to view the box score from this game.

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