HAMDEN, CONN. – Down by 16 points at halftime, the Bryant University women's basketball team came out strong in the second stanza and chipped the Quinnipiac lead down to four, but it would not be enough as the Bulldogs fell, 85-74, in Northeast Conference action Monday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center.
The Bulldogs were down by as many as 20 points during the opening 20 minutes until a 3-point play from Brittany Stahura (Amsterdam, N.Y.) pulled the visitors to within four, 58-54, with 11:14 left in the second half but the home side would eventually extend their lead and go on to claim the win.
Bryant (5-12, 2-4 NEC) was led by sophomore Meredith Soper (Winthrop, Mass.) who scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Freshman Naana Ankoma-Mensa (Brampton, Ontario) scored a team-high 15 points and sophomore Danielle Douglas (Silver Spring, Md.) recorded 12 tallies. Sophomore Katie Whittington (Twinsburg, Ohio) and Brittany Stahura (Amsterdam, N.Y.) added 10 points each to round out the double-figure scorers for the visitors.
Felicia Barron scored a game-high 22 points for Quinnipiac (8-9, 5-1 NEC) while senior Courtney Kaminski added 21 points and six boards. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 41.9 percent on 26-for-62 shooting from the floor, including 48.6 percent in the second half.
Quinnipiac started strong out of the gate as Courtney Kaminski stepped back for a 3-pointer just eight seconds into the contest to establish the early lead. Bryant responded with a series of deep jumpers to stay within contention as Stahura knocked down a shot just inside the arc to cut the Bobcat lead to three, 9-6, at the 17:05 mark.
The Bobcats found success on 3-point attempts over the next six minutes to maintain a comfortable lead until Siamone Bennett (Newburgh, N.Y.) crashed the boards after a Bryant missed shot and putback the offensive rebound to pull the visitors within five, 19-14, with 11:04 left in the half. The Bobcats answered right back with another 3-pointer from Kaminski, starting a 6-0 run to open up a double-digit advantage at the midway point of the stanza.
Following a driving lay-up from Courtney Schissler (Branford, Conn.) at the 7:30 mark, the Bobcats responded with a 7-0 run to lead, 34-18, with just over four minutes left to play. The Bulldogs showed signs of a comeback over the next minute as a Lindsay Hudspeth (Mount Laurel, N.J.) trey and a pair of Bennett free throws trimmed the Bobcat lead to nine but the home side ended with a 12-5 run for the 46-30 advantage at halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half in strong fashion, starting with a 3-point play by Douglas to kick off a 12-6 run as a trey from Whittington pulled the visitors within ten, 52-42, just two minutes into the stanza. After a Douglas layup, Whittington drilled another trey to cut the lead to five but Barron halted the Bryant attack with a quick 3-pointer, pushing the Quinnipiac lead up to eight, 55-47, at the 14:45 mark.
Bryant continued to hang around over the next three minutes and that effort showed at 11:14 when Stahura fought through the Bobcat defense on a shot down low, making the basket and drawing the foul for the 3-point play. Quinnipiac responded with a pair of similar 3-point plays by Kaminski and Jacinda Dunbar over the next four minutes as the later extended the Bobcat lead up to 69-58 with 7:47 left in the contest.
Despite the Bulldog comeback, the Bobcats maintained their 11-point lead over the final stretch of the contest as the home team went on to win, 85-74.
The Black and Gold return to NEC action on Saturday, Jan. 22 when they play host to Monmouth at 1:00 p.m.