HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University women's basketball team earned its 15th straight win on Wednesday night, as the Bobcats inched closer to a Northeast Conference Title with a 72-45 win at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats improved to 23-2 overall and 14-0 in league play, and remain just one win away from clinching the regular season crown.
Quinnipiac, who now owns the nation's fifth longest winning streak, was led by freshman Maria Napolitano(Cincinnati, Ohio) who poured in a career high 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from long range. Jasmine Martin (Sicklerville, N.J.) joined Napolitano in double-figures with 11, which featured yet another strong second half with 10 points. Samantha Guastella (Red Bank, N.J.) chipped in with eight points and 10 rebounds in her first game back after an 11-game absence, and Felicia Barron (Springfield, Mass.) added eight points, two blocks and matched a season-high with eight steals.
The two teams traded buckets early on, but it was the hosting Bobcats who caught fire midway through the first half. Trailing by one, 11-10, with 14:34 remaining in the stanza - Quinnipiac went up by double-digits with a 16-2 run over the next seven minutes. Nikoline Ostergaard (Vedbaek, Denmark) sparked the surge with a pair of free-throws and then capped it off with a layup at the 7:05 mark. Quinnipiac sustained its advantage and carried a 32-21 lead as the whistle sounded for halftime.
Monmouth battled back and cut its deficit to eight points with 10:29 remaining, but Martin and Napolitanowere too much down the stretch. Quinnipiac fired back with another 16-2 run for a 22-point advantage – a lead that the Bobcats would not relinquish. Quinnipiac improved to 11-0 at home this season, good enough for 14th in the nation for active home win-streaks.
The Bobcats dominated nearly every statistical category, but defense once again proved to be the difference. Quinnipiac forced 27 Hawk turnovers and garnered a 33-2 edge in points off turnovers. Monmouth connected on just 32.7 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from long range. Quinnipiac countered with 35.2 percent and a blistering 52.2 percent (12-23) from behind the arc.
Brittany McQuain (Independence, Mo.) and Ostergaard aided the Bobcats front court with eight points apiece. McQuain added seven rebounds, a steal and a block. Lisa Lebak (Robbinsville, N.J.) and Gillian Abshire (Washington, D.C.) combined for nine assists and just three turnovers.
Quinnipiac improved to 16-14 all-time against Monmouth. The Bobcats got a bit of revenge after surrendering a heartbreaking loss in the Northeast Conference Semifinals last season.
The Bobcats return to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon where they will look to clinch the NEC regular season title. Quinnipiac heads to Sacred Heart University for a 1 p.m. tilt at the William H. Pitt Center in Fairfield, Conn.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets for the 2012-13 campaign can call the QU Ticket Office at 203-582-3905, visit the official website of Quinnipiac athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com or make a trip to the TD Bank Sports Center Ticket Office.
Quinnipiac fans should refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2012-13 women's Basketball season is also available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.