By Kyla Guilfoil, Managing Editor & Sports Editor
The Jaspers knocked out third-seed Quinnipiac in the MAAC Championship quarter-finals with a score of 50-43, claiming a place in the semi-final against Niagara Friday night.
Sophomore forward Petra Juric dominated the court in the Thursday afternoon match, earning a double double.
In a post-game interview, Juric said she came to win.
“It’s win or go home, and we are winning,” Juric said. “When you’re going into this game, it’s going to be a tough game, but we really held it together, held strong and we got this win.”
The Jaspers claimed the first points of the match, with Juric sending the first basket successfully, early into the first quarter. Sophomore forward Helena Galunic claimed the final points of the quarter, taking a jumper and knocking the score up to 14-10.
The Jaspers grabbed onto their lead and went into the second quarter strong, reaching 21-14 by the halfway point of the quarter.
However, the Bobcats did not take the deficit kindly and attacked the back half of the quarter. A series of successful baskets won Quinnipiac a handful of points, and a layup and winning free throw shot by the Bobcats’ Rose Caverly left the score at 23-26.
The Jaspers kicked into overdrive in the third quarter, bringing in a strong defense. Senior forward Dee Dee Davis and Juric dominated the court through the back of the third, with two free throw points by Davis cinching a lead. The Jaspers left the third quarter with a score of 39-37.
Both teams’ scoring dropped in the final quarter, with spectators gripping their seats amid a close finish.
Juric and Davis each put up layups to get the score to 45-37. However, Caverly snuck up her own layup, grabbing an extra two points for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac took another run, getting the score to 45-41.
The Jaspers rushed as Caverly made a steal and set up Ella O’Donnell to make the layup that lead the score to 45-43.
The Jaspers’ senior forward Brazil Harvey-Carr claimed a space back on the court and knocked in two free throws with 24 seconds left on the clock. The Jaspers kept their lead, 47-43, but were biding their time.
Juric got a chance by the basket, too, and scored another two points from free throws as the clock neared 10 seconds. Both teams on edge, the Jaspers holding tight to defense, the clock ticked down to the final three seconds.
The Jaspers won a final two free throws, and Davis got the score up to 50-43. With only the last three seconds ticking by, the Jaspers claimed their win.
In a post-game interview, the Jaspers’ head coach, Heather Vulin, complimented the team on their back-end defense.
“We really believe the little things add up to the big things,” Vulin said. “I really feel our locker room is really here to play to win, and play hard for each other, and they did that, which equated to some really great defense in the second half for us.”
With their next game in the tournament against Niagara, Vulin said the team isn’t letting their previous losses against the team stop them.
The Jaspers last played Niagara on Jan. 19, losing 70-74.
“We’re going to really enjoy this win and then focus on taking care of business tomorrow,” Vulin said after Thursday’s game.
The Jaspers will play Niagara in the MAAC Championship semi-finals Friday at 8:30p.m.