NEW BRITAIN, Conn. Mandy Pennewell (West Chester, Pa.) scored a season-high 24 points as the Quinnipiac University women's basketball team held off a second-half comeback by Central Connecticut for a 63-57 victory Saturday afternoon at Detrick Gymnasium. The win improves the Bobcats' mark in Northeast Conference play to 6-2 and 12-5 overall, while the loss drops the Blue Devils' conference record to 6-2 and 11-7 overall. The win also marked the 16th consecutive win for the Bobcats against CCSU.
"We knew this weekend was going to be big for us chasing these two teams," said Head Coach Tricia Fabbri. "Mandy played great and we need her to play well for this team to win games like this one today."
Quinnipiac came out shooting 7-of-18 midway through the first half, building the lead to as many as 17 points. The Bobcats' defense limited the Blue Devils' opportunities, holding the CCSU scoreless for an 8:52 stretch between the team's first and second baskets of the game.
Pennewell's 13 first-half points led all players as the Bobcats took a 12-point lead into halftime, 33-21. She had three first-half three-point field goals, while fellow senior guard Brianna Rooney (Guilford, Conn.) connected on the Bobcats' other three-pointer in the first half. Rooney also added five assists in the opening 20 minutes of play, matching her output from the Bobcats' win at St. Francis (N.Y.) on Monday.
The Blue Devils cut the Quinnipiac lead to four with 13:53 remaining in the second half. After Erin Kerner's (Erie, Pa.) first basket of the game built the lead to 41-27, CCSU went on a 14-3 run over the next 5:36 of play.
With the Blue Devils trailing by three for much of the final ten minutes of the second half, Kerner's three-pointer with 2:40 showing on the clock gave the Bobcats a six-point lead, 55-49. After holding defensively on the next possession, Kerner found Jacinda Dunbar (Edison, N.J.) in the paint between three defenders. The freshman forward ball-faked before moving around the Blue Devils' defense for a lay-up off glass and an eight-point lead.
After being held to just two points through the first 34 minutes of play, Kerner finished with 11 points, while adding four assists. Rooney matched her season high with six assists and added five points and a game-high three steals.
Pennewell's 24 points were three more than her previous season high set in the team's second game of the season at Brown on Nov. 16. The senior guard finished 6-of-10 from behind the arc, setting a new season high in three-point field goals.
The Bobcats return to action Monday, Jan 26 against the Pioneers of Sacred Heart. The teams are set to tip-off at the TD Banknorth Sports Center at 7 p.m.