It’s very exciting to have Marquette women’s basketball back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011, especially with a #5 seed, the best seed in program history. However, we have to admit that we don’t know all that much about MU’s opponent, the #12 seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats. We reached out to Q30 Television, the QU student operated television station, and fired a few questions at Joshua Silverman and Morey Hershgordon, both of whom provided separate answers for our ridiculous nonsense.
The questions below are in bold, while Joshua and Morey’s answers are marked with their initials as we go along. Special thanks to Jaden Daly of Daly Dose of Hoops for making the introductions to help us preview Saturday’s game. You can follow Joshua (@JoshMSilverman) and Morey (@mahhersh) on Twitter, with the side note that Morey and Q30 Television Sports Director Sierra Goodwill (@SierraGoodwill) will be in Coral Gables to cover the game.
Hello there! How are things going in [does quick Google search] Hamden, Connecticut?
Joshua Silverman: Things are going well… we’re trying to deal with all of the snow. I thought we were done but it keeps coming back unfortunately.
Morey Hershgordon: Things are going great! Can’t complain about postseason basketball in March. Hamden is a little cold, though. Just got over a foot of snow dumped on us. We’re ready to get down to sunny Florida!
This is just the third NCAA tournament appearance in program history for Quinnipiac, but all three are in the past five seasons. Has women's hoops started to create a buzz on campus with their regular success?
JS: Honestly, I think that it is hard for them to create a buzz with the Men’s Ice Hockey team performing at such an elite level. The hockey team is playing in Lake Placid this weekend for the ECAC semifinals. That will most likely have people’s attention, however it is known on campus that the Women’s Basketball team plays at a high level. The problem is they just don’t get the attendance that the Men’s Hockey team does.
MH: Yes, Quinnipiac women’s basketball has become one of the premiere teams on campus during that times. They play an exciting, up-tempo style and have a likable coaching staff. The following has grown through their out-of-conference scheduling and consistency. A highlight of this season was bringing in Big 10 power Michigan State, which nearly sold out Quinnipiac’s arena.
I'll openly admit that I haven't watched the Bobcats play at all this season, although that's probably not a surprise. Based on their stats, it looks like they win games based largely on their defense: lots of forced turnovers and low opponent shooting percentages. Is that an accurate assessment?
JS: It is accurate that their defense is what helps them win games. I would point to the Marist game at the end of the season when they held the Red Foxes to just 36 points. I would also say that most of their victories come from one or two players having a great offensive outing. That aspect is what makes them so dangerous. In any given game, they have eight players that can score 15 or more points.
MH: Definitely accurate. Their depth, length and athleticism at all five positions has been the backbone of four regular season conference championships out of the last five years. Almost all of Quinnipiac’s players (there’s a constant eight in Tricia Fabbri’s rotation) can guard positions one through five on the court. Quinnipiac is able to combat its scoring droughts with its high pressure defense and that’s what it prides itself on year in and year out.
This may surprise you, but if you spend four years going to college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you tend to develop an appreciation for good beer. If a Marquette fan finds them in the Hamden/New Haven area, where's the best spot to go for a beer and a burger?
JS: Well I’m 19 and only a sophomore so I am only speaking from second hand knowledge but people like to go to Box 63 in New Haven or Eli’s which is in Hamden.
MH: Well, depending on who you ask, you’ll get a number of answers. New Haven is a great city for food and is considered one of the “Pizza Capitals” of the country. But as for beer and burgers, Prime 16 happens to be one of my favorites. It has a vast selection of draft brews, as well as tons of gourmet burgers. Other hot spots in New Haven are BAR and Kitchen Zinc, as well as Hamden’s own Side Street Bar and Grill. But honestly, if you’re in the mood for some top-notch pizza, you HAVE to visit Frank Pepe’s. It’s worth the wait!
Knowing that Marquette likes to play at a frenetic pace, it seems like Quinnipiac wants to play up tempo as well. Is that true and how do you think QU will fare if the Golden Eagles speed things up on them?
JS: Sometimes when Quinnipiac plays at an up tempo pace, they starting taking shots without letting their offense fully develop. However, that can work in its favor if the shots are falling. The problem with Quinnipiac is they have days where they shoot below 20 percent from behind the arc and they have some games where they shoot over 35 percent. When they’re shooting below 20 percent, they don’t stop shooting and sometimes it can get out of hand. They like to play Bobcat ball and don’t get deterred from missed shots, so it all depends on if the shots are falling.
MH: Head coach Tricia Fabbri will never tell her players that an open shot is a bad shot. If Marquette decides to speed things up, Quinnipiac will shoot a high volume of perimeter shots. On the season the Bobcats shoot 30 percent from deep, but on any given day, they can get the hot hand. If that happens, we might just have a closer game than expected. However, if the season averages remain true, Marquette will definitely be able to exploit Quinnipiac’s flaws down low and advance to the second round.
The Bobcats have eight players scoring at least five points per game this season. Adily Martucci and Jen Fay both average more than 10 points a game, but are they the focus of the offense? Does QU even really have a featured player? Who needs to have a good game for Quinnipiac to pull the 5/12 upset?
JS: Adily Martucci and Jen Fey are both great players. Martucci’s on ball defense is some of the best in the conference and Fey has the ability to knock down threes from anywhere on the court. However, the player that has to take over for Quinnipiac to pull off the upset is Aryn McClure. McClure recorded 28 points in the championship game, which was her career high. I think if Quinnipiac wins, it will be because she dominated the game.
MH: If any player is the focus of Quinnipiac’s offence, it’s fifth-year senior guard Adily Martucci. The only player in school in school history to go to three NCAA Tournaments, she has the experience and the skill set to be the lead horse for the Bobcats. She’s closing in on 1,000 career points and was named MVP of the MAAC Tournament. But with that said, all five players can hit the three, which makes them a threat to upset. Aryn McClure, who scored a career-high 28 points in the MAAC Championship game, is Quinnipiac’s best playmaker. Recipients of her assists include Carly Fabbri, Morgan Manz, Jen Fay and Martucci, who can all stroke it from deep. Paula Strautmane and Sarah Shewan provide a stable interior base for the Bobcats’ offense.
Prediction time! Give us a winner, a final score, and the #1 thing that will determine Quinnipiac's fate.
JS: Looking at Marquette’s schedule, it can put up big numbers so it will come down to its offense against Quinnipiac’s defense. Quinnipiac is a top mid-major and has the ability to pull off the upset but I don’t see it in the cards for them this year. I think Marquette wins 71-63 in a game that is close through three quarters before Marquette pulls away at the end.
MH: Quinnipiac is prone to slow starts. It needs to avoid this if it wants to be able to hang with the reigning BIG EAST champs. Their tough out-of-conference schedule has prepared the Bobcats for this moment, but with that said I do think Marquette just might be a bit more talented. Marquette advances 81-69.