Niagara Gazette — Despite a monstrous run to start the second half, the Niagara Purple Eagles fell to the Quinnipiac Bobcats 81-64 in a Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference women’s basketball game Sunday at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.
Starting the second half down 17 points, 46-29, the Purple Eagles (2-8, 0-1 MAAC) opened the second half with a 21-6 run that cut the deficit to just 52-50 with 11:45 left on the clock. Four players got in in the action, including Kelly Van Leeuwen and Victoria Rampado, who traded points to get the run started. They would finish with five and seven points, respectively. Chanel Johnson scored 10 of the run’s 21 points on her way to a game-high 19 for the afternoon. Johnson also led the team with six rebounds.
Defensively, NU clamped down the Bobcats during the stretch and held them to a 2-for-13 clip from the floor.
“I think the biggest thing was rebounding that we didn’t give up offensive rebounds in that stretch and that we were aggressive at the rim,” head coach Kendra Faustin said about what kept the run alive. “As the game started to get closer we didn’t do those things. We kept them off the board, good things happened, but we let them get second chance opportunities and/or we turn it over and it was not good.”
From there, the Bobcats were able to get their offense rolling again and build their lead back to double digits on the way to victory.
“Rebounding continues to be an issue for us and so does consistency,” Faustin said. “There were times throughout the game where we looked really good then there were times when we looked the opposite of that. We have to do an overall better job of being consistent. We made a great run in the second half to cut (the deficit) to two and you would never know that by looking at the stat sheet.”
Niagara had to overcome a slow start in the first half, when they were able to attempt just four shots before the media timeout. Meghan McGuinness got things rolling in the front court with the first six points for the Purple and White. The junior guard finished with 14 on the game.
The Purple Eagles were able to stay within single digits for the first part of the opening half but Quinnipiac was able to go on a run towards the end to take a 46-29 lead into the break.
Conference play continues for the Purple Eagles at 2 p.m. Tuesday when NU closes out the calendar year with a matchup at the Fairfield Stags.