ALBANY, NY – Despite leading by 10 on two occasions, the Iona College women’s basketball program fell in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship semifinals to top-seeded Quinnipiac, 64-59. Iona led for the entirety of the second and third quarters but a 26 point fourth quarter by the Bobcats pushed the 2016-17 Regular Season Champions past the defending MAAC Championships.
The Bobcats used the offensive glass to their advantage in the first quarter with six second-chance boards. Iona trailed by one at the close of the first despite holding Quinnipiac to 5-for-17 shooting (29%).
After senior All-MAAC First Team selection Marina Lizarazu hit a pair of free throws to give the Gaels their first lead of the game, Sophomore All-MAAC First Team member Alexis Lewis hit her first basket of the game at 7:42 of the second to catalyze a decisive frame. Sophomore Paula Strautmane picked up her second foul at 7:29 for Quinnipiac, and immediately after the Maroon & Gold went on an 8-0 run to build at 28-18 lead.
Quinnipiac wouldn’t just settle for the halftime respite; the top-seeded program went on their own 8-0 to over the final 2:38 of the second quarter to shrink Iona’s double-digit lead back to two points, 28-26.
Lizarazu had 11 points and 2 assists in the first half to lead Iona. Junior Carly Fabbri had seven points on 2-for-5 shooting for Quinnipiac. Both teams struggled shooting from long range in the first half combining to shoot 15% (3-for-20).
Sophomore All-MAAC Third Team selection Aryn McClure knotted the game at 28 early in the third quarter. Junior Philecia Atkins-Gilmore bounced right back down the floor and converted an and-one play to push Iona forward in what would become a short 7-0 run. With the Gaels up 10, RS-Sophomore All-MAAC Third Team selection Jen Fay hit a pair of three pointers to pull Quinnipiac back within four.
The two triples opened the floodgates from long range. Senior All-MAAC Second Team member Adily Martucci and Fabri combined for three long-range buckets in the opening 3:30 of the fourth quarter. The Quinnipiac lead grew to as large as 10 on two occasions in the final frame, with the last coming on a dagger three from Fay at 3:33.
The Bobcats finished the game shooting 30.8% from deep. They had four players in double-figures; Fabbri and Martucci each had a team-high 14; Fabbri also dished out four assists. Junior Sarah Shewan had a team-high eight rebounds off the bench.
Sophomore Treyanna Clay registered her first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds; she was perfect in making a career-best eight free throws. Lewis ends the season with her 12th double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Lizarazu led all scorers with 20 points on 6-for-15 shooting from the floor and 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
Iona shot 89.7% from the free throw line, making a season-best 26.
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