ALBANY, N.Y. – Canisius sophomore Maria Welch scored a team-high 16 points and junior Saliah Serrette added 13 points, but it was not enough for the eighth-seeded Golden Griffins, as the team fell to top-seed Quinnipiac 63-58 Friday afternoon in the MAAC Basketball Championship quarterfinal round in Times Union Center. The Bobcats (25-6) advance to the semifinal round on Sunday, while Canisius sees it season come to an end with a record of 10-21.
Trailing 50-46 heading into the third, Canisius regained the lead with 7:51 left to play when Welch drilled a triple to cap a 7-2 run to start the fourth quarter to make the score 53-52. A bucket by Serrette moments late pushed the Griffs’ cushion to 55-52 with 7:05 showing on the clock, but Quinnipiac knotted the game right back up on its next possession with a 3-point field goal. A jumper by Quinnipiac’s Adily Martucci with 2:17 tied the game at 57-57, and after a pair of Canisius misses, the Bobcats stretched their hold to three at 60-57 after Carly Fabbri drained a 3-pointer with 1:26 left in regulation time to essentially seal the victory for the league’s regular-season champion.
Canisius led Quinnipiac by as many as eight points early in the second quarter at 24-16 after Welch drilled a 3-pointer off an assist from senior Tamara Miskovic. From there, the teams traded runs, but the Griffs went into the locker room at the half up five at 33-28. Canisius shot 50 percent in the game’s first 20 minutes and hit 5-of-8 3-point attempts, but the Blue and Gold went cold in the second half, shooting just 25 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from behind the arc out of intermission.
Quinnipiac’s Martucci led all scorers with her game-high 19 points, while Fabbri added 13 points on the power of four makes from 3-point land. The Bobcats shot 42.4 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from behind the arc in the victory. Quinnipiac also took care of the ball, ending the contest with just nine turnovers.
Head Coach Terry Zeh’s Postgame Comments
“In two days, we got to be involved in two really fun college basketball games. I thought yesterday was really fun to be involved with and I thought today was really fun until then end.”
“This was a really good college basketball game. I think [Quinnipiac] made some big shot. Some were mistakes by us. Some were shots that they made because they made a play. I was really happy with what we did today. We literally put some things in last night in the hotel ballroom with tape down on the floor. It was fun to see our kids locked in and focused and being able to execute against their zone especially in the first half.”
“I’m happy that Maria Welch is back. That’s fun. I was happy to see her playing free and making shots. That’s the way she played all of last year. Most importantly, I’m proud of how we competed, and how we handled ourselves. We lost a basketball game. A couple of shots did not go in, but I think we did a really nice job.”
• Quinnipiac wins the 10th overall meeting between the two clubs, with it being the second time the Bobcats won in the MAAC Tournament
• Maria Welch continued her strong MAAC tournament run, scoring 16 points, and shot 4-of-6 from the 3 point stripe. Welch has had four-or-more treys in every MAAC tournament game she has played.
• Sara Hinriksdottir was covered all game by the best defensive team in the MAAC and failed to record double-figures. She finishes the season hitting double-figures 26 times, the most since Marie Warner’s 29 double-digit games in 2008.
• Despite falling just short, Canisius was primed for the biggest upset in decades. If the Griffs had pulled the upset over Quinnipiac, it would have marked the first time an No. 8 seed defeated a No. 1 seed since 1993.
• Part of the Griffs issues this season came from beyond the arc, with Canisius shooting just 30 percent from beyond the arc for the season prior to postseason play. The story was much improved in the two games in the tournament, as Canisius shot 40 percent in the pair of games.
Canisius ends its season with a 10-21 overall record and a 8-12 conference mark. Looking ahead the Griffs say goodbye to three impactful seniors, Lauren D'Hont, Tamara Miskovic and Emily Weber.