ALBANY – The season-long, short-handed battle of the Niagara University women’s basketball team came to an end in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament Friday afternoon.
Niagara dropped a 74-51 decision to top-seeded Quinnipiac, the defending MAAC champion. Quinnipiac improved to 23-7 and advanced to the semifinals on Sunday.
Niagara succumbed to the superior depth of the Bobcats, who have 11 players averaging 15 minutes or more. Niagara, which lost all-conference forward Victoria Rampado three games into the season, has just six players averaging 15 minutes or more and only eight healthy players on scholarship.
Niagara finished its first season under coach Jada Pierce at 8-23. It was the 11th straight non-winning season in the MAAC for the Purple Eagles.
Quinnipiac scored the first eight points of the game and held a 17-4 lead early in the second quarter. Niagara fought back and got as close as six, 45-39, late in the third quarter. Quinnipiac made it a rout in the fourth.
Niagara got 19 points from junior guard Tiffany Corselli and 13 from senior guard Taylor McKay. The Purple Eagles graduate two senior starters – McKay and center Sam Lapszynski, who was named second-team all-MAAC. Niagara returns seven scholarship players and signed three high school recruits in the fall.
Quinnipiac got 24 points from 6-foot-2 sophomore Sarah Shewan.