Offensive rebounds plague Griffs; lose to MAAC favorite

By Marshall Haim

Assistant Sports Editor

The Canisius Golden Griffins could not prevent the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s highly touted Quinnipiac Bobcats from earning a 64-53 win on Saturday afternoon at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Contrary to the score, the Griffs’ defense helped keep majority of the the game close. The Griffs led after the 1st quarter, then trailed by one point going into halftime, as well as the 4th quarter. However, the final quarter gave Canisius some issues, in which Quinnipiac took advantage outscoring the Griffs by 10 points, 23-13.

The game featured both teams shooting under 35 percent (Canisius — 31.9 percent, Quinnipiac — 30.0 percent), but Quinnipiac was able to take advantage of their missed opportunities bringing down 26 offensive rebounds. Canisius was only able to have nine for the entire game. On top of the rebounds, the Bobcats scored 21 second-chance points, to the Griffs seven.

“We had some really good moments. I think defensively we were good,” Canisius head coach Terry Zeh said. “We didn’t allow them to get anything in rhythm. All of their shots was not in flow. Most of the time it was them catching and trying to isolate. We kept them in front of us, so they’d take a bad rhythm shot. The problem was we couldn’t get the rebound.”

Junior guard Margret Halfdanardottir led the Griffs in points (12), despite juggling with foul trouble. The entire Canisius defense was also able to limit the Bobcats’ guards to only 26 points, which has usually been their strong suit.

“We put a lot of focus on getting out to them because they have a lot of players that can shoot,” Halfdanardottir said about limiting the Bobcats’ front court. “Everybody jacks up a shot, so we tried to have a lot of ball pressure and we did a good job with that. If they did shoot it, they were all contested. ”

With guarding the Bobcats’ front court, the Griffs left forwards Jen Fay and Paula Strautmane to have a heyday scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively. Strautmane was able to tie the team-high for rebounds (10), which also ties a career-high. Of Strautmane’s 10 rebounds, six came on the offensive side of the ball.

“That was huge. Going into the game I knew that was going to be a deciding force for us,” said Tricia Fabbri, Quinnipiac’s all-time winningest head coach after winning her 363rd career-game in 21 seasons at Quinnipiac, on the offensive boards. “We’re coming off a tough shooting night, on the road, against Niagara. Going for the ball after the missed shots was going to be pivotal for us and our ladies did a nice job.”

Canisius sophomore forward Sara Hinriksdottir continued her offensive success scoring 10 points (her 13th double-figure game on the season), while adding six rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Lauren D’Hont also contributed 10 points.

“She’s coming a lot way, obviously. If you watched her play last year and this year, it’s like two different people,” Zeh said about the sophomore forward from Iceland. “She’s still finding her way with the flow and what’s good and what’s not. She makes great plays for us, but she’s still figuring out when to do that and when not to do that.”

“It’s very important to have a player like her,” Halfdanardottir added. “She isn’t afraid to go get points. Maybe time is running out, we need something and she is so good 1-on-1, she’s not afraid to go get it.”

Canisius used many different lineup combinations in the game against Quinnipiac. Of all players that saw the court on Saturday, no player played less than 12 minutes. Hinriksdottir registered the most minutes (32) before fouling out. Sophomore guard Zhane Irby saw an increased work load playing 14 minutes, while scoring a career-high six points (all coming off two made three-pointers). Irby’s 14 minutes are the most since recording a career-high 18 minutes at Iona on Dec. 30.

Freshman Anna Sweny started her fifth consecutive game for the Blue and Gold, playing the most minutes in that span (15) since Dec. 22 (at Cornell, the first game of the starting streak, where she played a career-high 20 minutes) . The Erie, PA native scored three points, three rebounds and one assist on Saturday.

“We decided as a staff that we need some different combinations,” Zeh said about the different lineup scheme. “Different people bring different things for us and we need to utilize it. I wish one person could bring everything, but that’s not how the world works. Every person has their own gifts, so we have to use some different combinations.”

Canisius (3-12, 2-4) will head on the road for a 3-game road trip before returning home on Jan. 22 for a match with the Fairfield Stags. The Griffs will begin their road trip with a meeting with the Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Friday (Jan. 13) before heading to play the Monmouth Hawks next Sunday (Jan. 15). Quinnipiac will head home to Hamden, Connecticut to face the Manhattan Jaspers on Tuesday.

“We don’t have classes so that nice,” Zeh said about the upcoming road trip. “That’s the one nice thing about going on the road now, they’re not missing anything. I think we’re getting better. We’re a much better team than we were a couple weeks ago. It’s not coming out in all wins yet.”

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