Women’s Basketball Lose to QU; End of Season

The Monmouth women’s basketball season came to an end Friday at the Times Union Center after an 82-61 quarterfinal loss to the No. 1 seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats.

MU entered the MAAC Tournament, which was hosted in Albany, NY, as the No. 9 seed and as a result, they were slated to play in the first game of the weekend against the No. 8 seed, the Canisius Golden Griffins. The Hawks began their MAAC Tournament ride early on Thursday morning. 

Sophomore guard Helena Kurt led all scorers with 22 points as the Hawks defeated No. 8 seed Canisius 68-56 in the MAAC Championship First Round. 

Junior guard Jasmine Walker notched her fifth-career double-double, dropping 14 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Sophomore forward Christina Mitchell added 14 points of her own and contributed on the boards corralling five rebounds. NJIT transfer Sarah Olson shot three of ten from beyond the arc finishing with nine points.

Kayla Hoohuli, Canisius’ leading scorer and 2014-15 Preseason All-MAAC Second Team selection, finished with a team-high 18 points. Crystal Porter added 12 points and six rebounds.

Head Coach Jenny Palmateer knew her team had to execute the plan she installed in order to win the first round game. 

“I thought the team played really well today. We stuck with our game plan,” Palmateer said. “We changed a couple things for this game from the first two times we played them. They were minor adjustments, but our execution of those things were what really helped us pull this out. Overall, we had some great individual performances. I can’t say enough about Helena, Jas Walker and Chris Mitchell. I think they all brought something slightly different at certain times that were critical for us.”

Canisius led 24-23 at the half, but Kurt and Olson ignited a Hawks 13-1 run about half way through the second half, each hitting a three. After the run, the Hawks never trailed. 

Canisius managed to get the lead down to five with just over seven minutes remaining in the game but were unable to overcome the deficit. An Olson three aided the Hawks. 

With the win, the Hawks earned a matchup with No. 1 seeded Quinnipiac. The Bobcats finished with a perfect 20-0 record in conference play. During the regular season, the Bobcats defeated the Hawks, 41-39, including an 87-48 decision last week in the final regular season game for each team.  

“They’re playing probably their best basketball right now and we have our hands full. But when you’re playing in a tournament like this, if somehow you can make it to that last day, you’ve got to play everybody anyway,” said Palmateer. 

Heading into the Friday morning matchup, the Hawks knew they were in for a tough game with the Bobcats.

Kurt and Walker scored 11 points apiece, but the team fell to Quinnipiac, 82-61. With the loss, the Hawks finished the MAAC Tournament and their hopes of earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament came to an end. MU ended their season at 13-18. 

In her final game with the Hawks, senior forward Sara English finished with nine points and ten rebounds. It proved to be an emotional game for the Smithtown, NY  native who exited to a standing ovation with tears welling in her eyes. Palmateer greeted her at the bench with open arms for an embrace with her lone senior.

“If we converted a transition opportunity there, we could’ve cut the lead to single digits – eight or nine points with 13 minutes to go and that’s a totally different ballgame now,” said Palmateer. “It gets to single digits, maybe they get a little tight and we could make a little bit of a run right there. But Quinnipiac is such a strong team and all the credit goes to them. They’re a deep team. They have a bunch of shooters and they played really well today.” 

Val Driscoll had a team-high for Quinnipiac with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jasmine Martin and Gillian Abshire (cousin of former Florida Gators sharp-shooter Mike Miller) had 16 points apiece.

The Hawks outscored Quinnipiac 15-5 to start the second half. However, the Hawks finished the game with 13 turnovers and struggled to score transition buckets, which hindered their ability to sustain any sort of comeback against a potent Bobcats offense. 

“I’m really proud of my team and the fight that we showed,” said Palmateer, who praised her team on the effort they gave during the post-game interview. “We got down really early and other than that, we had chances where we could’ve rolled over and died, but we didn’t. The last 32 minutes of that game, we played them to a 55-52 ballgame. That’s not the kind of start you can afford to get off to against a team like Quinnipiac. I thought we had some good looks, but they were rimming in and out and we couldn’t get anything going offensively. But I’m really proud of the way that my team really battled back, hung tough and scrapped to try to make a comeback.”

The Hawks return 13 of 14 players next season with the departure of senior Sara English who will graduate in May with a degree in English/Elementary Education.