HAMDEN, CT - The Iona College women's basketball team (25-3, 18-1 MAAC) secured the number one seed in next weekend's 2014 MAAC Basketball Championship with a 80-72 victory over Quinnipiac University (18-11, 13-6 MAAC) Thursday evening at the TB Bank Sports Center. The win also clinched at least a share of the MAAC Regular Season championship for the Gaels and a set a new program standard for wins in a season.
Junior guard Damika Martinez led five players in double figures with a team high 20 points to go along with a season high nine rebounds. Martinez connected on eight field goals, including four from behind the arc. The Gaels knocked down 12 three pointers in total in the contest.
Sophomore forward Joy Adams filled out the statsheet with 14 points, a game high 18 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sophomore guard Aaliyah Robinson scored 18 points off the bench, on 7-14 shooting, outscoring the Bobcats reserves on her own.
Down 5-0 early, the Gaels scored eight straight, taking an 8-5 lead on a Robinson three pointer with 14:53 left. With Iona ahead 17-11, the Bobcats answered with an 8-0 run, grabbing a 19-17 lead on a three pointer by Jasmine Martin with 10:11 remaining.
The teams traded leads over the next several minutes, until a 9-0 run gave the Maroon & Gold at 33-25 lead with 5:47 remaining on a D'Angelo three. Iona led for the duration of the period as Robinson's three with three seconds left gave the Gaels a 38-31 lead at the break.
The Maroon & Gold took its first double digit advantage of the game, 48-37, on a fast break layup by Robinson with 14:53 remaining. An Adams layup and D'Angelo three followed to give the Gaels their biggest lead of the game, 53-37, with 14:07 left.
With Iona ahead 56-40, the Bobcats battled back with a 15-4 run, trimming the deficit to five, 60-55, with 9:50 left on a three by Martin. Quinnipiac continued its charge, cutting the lead to one, 64-63, on a pair of free throws by Brittany McQuain with 5:39 left. Iona scored the next four points to extend the lead back to five, 68-63.
A McQuain layup made it a one possession contest, 68-65, until Robinson connected on another three pointer with 2:20 remaining to put the Gaels ahead six, 71-65. The Bobcats countered with a three on the next trip down before Martinez answered right back to keep Iona ahead by six, 74-68, with 1:39 remaining.
Forced to foul, Quinnipiac sent Iona to the line and the Gaels responded with a 6-for-6 effort from the charity stripe in the final 35 seconds to claim the win.
McQuain scored a game high 26 points for the Bobcats while Martin had 23. The Gaels can claim the outright regular season championship Sunday when they host second place Marist College at 12:00 pm as part of an ESPN3 doubleheader.