Long balls aid Quinnipiac in blowout win against rival Marist

Photo courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Morey Hershgordon

Edel Thornton wasn’t the least bit surprised.

Just five days after Quinnipiac drilled a season-high 13 long balls against Monmouth, Marist came out and played 2-3 zone against Thornton’s Bobcats. And on Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center, Quinnipiac put on yet another clinic, confidently knocking down 14 triples and holding the Red Foxes to 29 percent from the floor in the second half, en route to a 79-57 blowout win.

“I wasn’t,” the sophomore guard said when asked about the Red Foxes’ choice of defense. “I feel like teams will think that since Fairfield beat us, others teams will come out in a zone against us. We’re expecting it now, and we’re just playing better against the zone now.”

“So I don’t know if they know what defense to play against us next.”

Right from the tip, Quinnipiac mirrored Saturday’s performance. Five 3-pointers were made in the first quarter and six different players connected from deep during the game, specifically Jen Fay and Adily Martucci who each had four.

“Just shooting confidently,” Martucci, the redshirt senior said, who’s 14 points all came in the first half. “(Edel) and all of our teammates have been finding us on the wings. The past couple of games when we weren’t shooting well we didn’t want to shoot it. Now we’re being more aggressive.”

The Bobcats hit 31 shots on the night and all but five were assisted on. Whether it was beating Marist down the floor and making the extra pass to an open teammate while the Red Foxes were scrambling or being shot-ready on a pass from the middle of the zone, head coach Tricia Fabbri was pleased with her team’s attention to detail in practice.

“I liked our fight and execution for 40 minutes. Coming off a week where we weren’t at our best, we answered. Every good team goes through a little something at some point but I’ve like how we’ve answered.”

“Seeing it, practicing it and going through it. That’s what good players do, good teams do, and rise to the challenge knowing that it’s not going to last forever, handle the adversity and respond.”

With just a seven-point halftime lead, Quinnipiac forced Marist to call timeout at the 7:34 mark of the third quarter when the lead ballooned to 13. Ayrn McClure hit three consecutive shots, all assisted by different teammates, the last of the trio from Sarah Shewan who rifled a dart from the top of the key.

The Bobcats found success all night by puncturing the middle of the Red Foxes defense. Not known for her shooting, Thornton banged a couple of her own from distance to extend the lead to 18 toward the end of the third. She has connected on eight of her 16 attempts during the past six games.

“I’ve been working on it before and after practice, just getting some extra shots up,” the Ireland native said. “I’m trying to spin the ball a little more on my shot. I’m just focused on taking the open shots when I get them and being confident when I catch the ball as opposed to looking to pass.”

Her consistency from outside has aided her team tremendously. When she hits open shots, opposing defenses have to make sure she doesn’t get open, which creates easier opportunities for star players McClure and Paula Strautmane, who combined for 21 points and 11 rebounds, as well as nine assists against zero turnovers.

“Yeah, they’ve been surprising some people,” Fabbri responded to whether or not the win feels the same as when Marist was at the top of the MAAC. “Brian (Giorgis) does such a great job regardless of who they have on the roster. We knew tonight would be a battle.”

Marist’s only lead of the game was 2-0, 15 seconds in, on a Rebekah Hand layup. The Red Foxes fought back time and time again during the first and second quarter. Trailing by five points with 6:26 left in the second frame, Claire Oberdorf found Lovisa Henningsdottir at the top of the arc to cut it to two and then sunk a pair of free throws to tie the game at 26.

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