- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 March 2016
- Written by MATT DELUCA | STAFF WRITER
The fifth-seeded MU women’s basketball team fell to number one-seed Quinnipiac 66-59 in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament Sunday afternoon at the Times Union Center.
Senior guard Sarah Olson scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds, and senior guard Jasmine Walker was the only other Hawk to reach double figures, scoring 11 points and collecting seven rebounds.
“We’re disappointed that we lost this game, but we leave the locker room with our heads held high,” head coach Jenny Palmateer said after the game. “I felt like we played as hard as we possibly could. Everyone left everything out there and in the end, that’s all you can ask for.”
It was a tight game from the start, the two teams trading four point leads in the first quarter, with MU claiming a one-point advantage after one. The teams continued to play each other close in the second quarter, as no lead exceeded one possession. There was no separation after one half of play, as the teams went into the locker room with the score tied at 28 apiece.
The Hawks found a spark halfway through the third quarter, as they embarked on a 7-0 scoring run to make the score 36-32 with 4:54 remaining in the quarter. The Bobcats quickly responded with a 9-2 run of their own, freshman forward Paula Strautmane scoring five points and sophomore forward Sarah Shewan adding four. With the score 41-38 in favor of Quinnipiac, senior guard Jasmine McCall converted on a traditional three-point play to tie the game at 41 after three quarters of play.
Quinnipiac hit a three-point shot in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to claim the lead, and they never trailed again. Monmouth brought the deficit down to one point on two occasions, with the second coming at the halfway mark of the quarter. However, a 6-0 Bobcat run would seal the game, as the Hawks could draw no closer than four points in the final minutes of the contest.
The semifinal loss marked the second game in as many days for the Hawks, who defeated fourth-seeded Fairfield 64-46 in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. Junior guard Tyese Purvis led Monmouth with 14 points, senior guard Jamiyah Bethune contributed 11 points and senior guard Jasmine Walker added 10. Senior guard Jasmine McCall had a balanced performance, scoring eight points, grabbing four rebounds and gathering three steals.
The Stags led 16-15 after the first quarter, but struggled to find their rhythm in the second, as the Hawks opened the quarter on a 15-0 scoring run. Fairfield only managed two points in the entire second quarter, as MU outscored them 19-2 to make the halftime score 34-18.
Defense continued to be the story for the Hawks in the second half, as they limited the Stags to just two field goals in the third quarter. MU raised their lead to 25, their largest of the game, on a Walker layup with 1:21 remaining in the quarter. Fairfield was unable to mount a full comeback, as they could draw no closer than 18, which was the final margin of victory for the Hawks.
Sunday’s loss ended the Hawks’ season, who finished the year with a 14-16 record, 12-10 in the MAAC, including the two tournament games. The team also said goodbye to six seniors: Olson, Walker, Bethune, McCall, and forwards Danica Dragicevic and Amanda Offenback.
“It’s been a great tournament for us,” Palmateer said. “I’m really proud of our team and the run that we were able to make. Our seniors will be sorely missed. They’ve put their stamp on our program in a lot of ways.”
One of the six seniors, Sarah Olson, reflected on the season and the impact it will have on the future of the program, “It was important this year to build a legacy by taking baby steps and getting better each year. We made it to the quarterfinals last year and the semifinals this year, just getting better each year is what it is all about.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics