PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/28/2014 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks women’s basketball team trailed by eight with just under six minutes to play. The Hawks rallied behind senior guard Natasha Cloud to get to within two with a chance to tie on their last possession. A turnover would end their chance as the Quinnipiac Bobcats came away with a 69 – 67 win in the first round of the Hawk Classic at the Hagan Arena. It was the first time that Saint Joe’s lost in the opening round in the twenty years of the tournament. SJU Coach Cindy Griffin felt the second half turnovers, 16 for the game, caused the loss.
“We turned the ball over,” said Griffin. “We had eleven in the second half and most of them were from our back court. When you are fighting and trying to get back from being down, you have to get a shot off every possession, and a good shot. Let’s take care of the ball and get the shots we want to get.”
With just over five and a half minutes to play in the second half and her team trailing 60 – 52 Cloud, who had a game-high 17 points, began a rally in which she would score 13 of the final 15 points scored by the Hawks, and assisted on the other basket.
“She was good coming down the stretch,” Griffin said about the play of Cloud at the end. “She can break somebody down or make plays for other people. She had the ball in her hands a lot because she is that good. She wanted it, she wanted to win.”
Saint Joseph’s cut the deficit to 2 twice in the 45 seconds. Following a missed free throw by Quinnipiac forward Samantha Guastella, who led the Bobcats with 14 points, the Hawks rebounded and called timeout. Cloud got the ball and was driving to the basket but traveled with 3 seconds left.
Cloud had a career-high tying 13 assists in the contest for a double-double. All five Saint Joe’s players scored in double figures. Freshman guard Kathleen Fitzpatrick added 13 points and junior forward Sarah Fairbanks recorded her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 assists. Nine of ten Bobcat players scored in the game.
Saint Joseph’s (3 – 8) will play in the consolation game against Cal State University Northridge. Quinnipiac (10 – 2) plays for the title against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
“It wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for today,” said Griffin. “We have to continue to work on things, and have a quick turnaround.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian