Women's Basketball Edged by Quinnipiac in 62-61 Heartbreaker

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – With the game tied at 61-61 in the final moments of the contest, Lailah Pratt knocked down the first of two free throw attempts with two seconds remaining, as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to Quinnipiac University, 62-61, in the third game of the 20th Annual Hawk Classic at Hagan Gymnasium Wednesday afternoon.

With the loss the Wildcats drop to 2-9 on the season, while the Bobcats improve to 4-8. New Hampshire finishes fourth in the tournament, while Quinnipiac grabs third place.  

Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) registered 11 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocks, earning All-Tournament Team honors for the Wildcats. The mark comes as her second double-double of the season and the fourth of her career. In UNH's first game of the tournament against St. Joe's she posted a season-high 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals.

The Wildcats and Bobcats would trade blows down the stretch until Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) drained a pair of free throws to tie the score at 61-61 with 57 seconds to play. Stellar defense by the 'Cats kept Quinnipiac from getting a clean look in the final moments of the game, but Pratt was able to get to the charity stripe, sinking the first of two free throw shots with two seconds on the clock to put the game out of reach. 
Sarah Frankenberger

Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) was UNH's only other double-digit scorer, tallying 11 points and pulling down two rebounds. Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) added eight points, seven boards and four assists. 

New Hampshire came out of the gates with a 6-2 run, led off with a 3-pointer by Wells and capped off with another trifecta from Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) with 17:43 remaining in the first frame.

The Bobcats responded with a 9-4 scoring stretch, sparked by a Courtney Kaminski jumper, giving Quinnipiac an 11-10 edge with 14:58 remaining in the stanza.

The two teams would remain scoreless for the next 2:15 until Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) sank a baby hook shot in the lane that took back the lead and set off a 9-1 run. Flynn would finish off the stretch with a tough layup in the paint, helping propel UNH to a 19-12 lead with 10:12 left in the frame.

For the next 7:30 the Bobcats would put together a 15-2 run, with Flynn providing UNH's lone basket during the stretch on a layup at 7:38. Despite the scoring drought, Frankenberger would help give the 'Cats life, driving the ball left side and pulling up from the elbow and sinking a jumper that sparked a 7-2 run.

Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) added to the effort, draining a baseline 3-pointer from the left side and then sinking a fast break layup on the next trip up the floor to cut the deficient down to just one, as Quinnipiac held a 29-28 advantage at the break.   

Hogan kept up the tempo at the start of the second frame, taking the ball baseline from the left side and getting to the right block where she layed it off the glass with contact and drained the shot. On the ensuing possession McDonald took the ball hard to the rack and banked a shot off the glass from the right block to set the score at 33-32 at 18:05.

That would be the last time UNH would register a field-goal for nearly six minutes, as the Bobcats outscored the Wildcats 12-5 from the start of the second stanza. However, McDonald would once again blaze the trail, burying a layup to help UNH post seven unanswered points, cutting the deficient down to one.

Frankenberger added a trifecta from the top of the key off a feed from Bridgette McKnight (Norristown, Pa.) and Beliveau knocked down a pull-up 10-foot jumper on the ensuing possession to cap off the run, setting the score at 41-40 with 10:44 to play.

The Bobcats came back with a 9-5 run, sparked by an Ellen Cannon 3-pointer, pushing QU's lead to five, with the score 50-45 with 8:53 remaining.

That would be Quinnipiac's largest advantage the rest of the way, as Frankenberger ignited the 'Cats once again, knocking down a baseline 3-pointer from the left side that set off a 10-5 run by the Wildcats that lasted 4:12.

Wells set up the game tying basket, feeding the ball to Hogan on the right side where she made a drop step move toward the basket and powered it in on the block, evening the score at 55-55 with 4:46 remaining.

The two teams traded baskets the rest of the way, with the Bobcats holding a 7-6 edge in points to close out the action.

Jacinda Dunbar led Quinnipiac with a game-high 26 points, five boards and two steals.

The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Jan. 1 (3 p.m.) when they take on the University of Rhode Island at Lundholm Gymnasium.
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