Second Half Surge Not Enough; Bobcats Fall In NEC Semifinals To Monmouth, 69-66

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HAMDEN, Conn. - Sophomore Brittany McQuain (Independence, Mo.) and freshman Jasmine Martin (Sicklerville, N.J.) each scored 20 points on Tuesday evening, but the Quinnipiac University women's basketball team's second half rally came up just short in the Northeast Conference Tournament, as No. 3 seeded Monmouth University edged out a 69-66 win at the TD Bank Sports Center. With their 22 wins on the season, the Bobcats now wait for a potential bid to a national postseason tournament next week.

Quinnipiac was led by the duo of McQuain and Martin, who combined for 60 percent of the team's total offense. McQuain added seven rebounds and two assists in a vigorous effort from the power forward. Martin's point-total was two shy of a career-high, which included two key buckets from long-range during the second-half surge.

After a tough opening 20 minutes, the Bobcats turned it around with a furious comeback in the second stanza. Trailing by 14 points at the break, QU mounted a 28-10 run through the next 12 minutes of action. With 7:38 seconds left in regulation, Samantha Guastella (Red Bank, N.J.) went to the line and made the first-of-two free throws to put the Bobcats in front, 53-52. She then proceeded to miss the backend, but Martin was right there for the rebound, put-back and drew a foul on the play. She completed the old-fashioned three-point play, granting the Bobcats a 56-52 lead.

In what would be a very hectic finish, the Hawks regained their composure and responded nicely down the stretch. Monmouth erased its four-point deficit, bringing the game back to a deadlock at 60 apiece, and then tacked on four straight points for a 64-60 advantage.

The Bobcats cut their deficit in half as the clocked ticked inside of one minute. QU came up with a big stop on defense, leaving 30 seconds and possession of the ball for the home team. Unfortunately, Felicia Barron's (Springfield, Mass.) shot from behind the arc with three seconds left was off the mark, leaving Monmouth with a pair of free-throws for the victory.

For the game, Monmouth outshot Quinnipiac from the floor, 52 percent to 43.4 percent, from behind the arc, 37.5 percent to 26.3 percent, and controlled the paint, 36-28.

Guastella also finished in double-figures for the Bobcats with 13 points and eight rebounds. Barron added seven points and one steal.

The first half featured a blistering start from the visiting Hawks. Monmouth turned defense into offense, as 24 Bobcat turnovers resulted in 11 points on the other end for the Hawks. Coupled with 56.7 percent shooting, Monmouth carried a 42-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Monmouth will head to Sacred Heart for the Northeast Conference Championship game on Sunday. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.  

Contact: Lindsay Oliveri; Lmoliveri@quinnipiac.edu