Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Heading into Saturday afternoon at the Gallagher Center, Niagara University women’s basketball team enjoyed a streak of three wins in four games, the latest victory coming against their archrivals, Canisius College.
What they sought next was an opportunity to lift themselves to the next level and they had an ideal opportunity to do so against Quinnipiac, who entered the game tied for third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. After one half, Niagara led the Bobcats by three points and, after a sloppy start, it appeared they were finally jelling and in control of the game.
Then, Quinnipiac stole the lead by letting their Cannon loose. Senior guard Ellen Cannon hit five 3-pointers in the second half that helped the Bobcats along the way to their 93-78 win over the Purple Eagles.
“We were right there,” said Niagara freshman forward Victoria Rampado. “At halftime we were beating them and then they just went off on the three-point line, and second-chance plays killed us.”
After the Bobcats took an early 5-0 lead, Niagara head coach Kendra Faustin removed her entire starting lineup for five subs just 1:57 into the game.
“I didn’t think we actually started the game well. Our group coming off the bench did a great job setting the tone,” Faustin said.
One of those subs was Rampado, who put the Purple Eagles on the scoreboard with a jumper. It was her first two points of a total 17 for the game. She shared the team scoring lead for the game with Meghan McGuinness.
“Victoria’s really coming along,” said Faustin of the Niagara Falls, Ont. native. “She’s really trusting the process and really embracing her role.”
Niagara overcame a 16-8 deficit and gained the lead at the midway point of the first half. Then, Purple Eagle shooters who struggled early were finally connecting on their shots while, defensively, the team held Quinnipiac scoreless for a span of roughly four and a half minutes.