Taking a look at the Quinnipiac Bobcats
The Quinnipiac Bobcats finished the season on a 21-game winning streak after going through the MAAC untouched in both the regular season and the conference tournament. Only three of those wins came by a margin of less than ten points. Their last loss came on December 30th in a two-point home loss to UCF. They capped their conference championship run with a thirty point victory over Marist.
Quinnipiac is currently projected as a 12 seed by both High Post Hoops’ Russel Steinberg ESPN’s Charlie Creme as of the end of March 11. They don’t have a true bad loss on their schedule, with their defeats coming to a sextet of 20-win teams: Bucknell, Texas, Missouri, Central Michigan, Princeton, & UCF. They lack a very strong non-conference win, with either Harvard or Drexel being the best team they beat. The MAAC lacked a strong contender for a NCAA at-large bid beyond Quinnipiac; the best of the rest was Marist, who Quinnipiac beat in all three meetings.
The Bobcats excelled on defense, where they led the country in points allowed per 100 possessions at 75.4. Their offense was fine, with their 95.6 points per 100 possessions placing them 111th. They’re one of the slowest paced teams in the country with just 67 possessions per 40 minutes, which put them in the bottom 50 of all of Division I.
Defensively, Quinnipiac thrived on forcing turnovers – they ranked eighth in the nation with 21.2 forced turnovers per game. This was a team-wide effort, with four players averaging 1.8 to 2.0 steals per contest. They also rejected 2.2 shots per game, which ranked 19th in the country. Paula Strautmane paced the team with 1.8 rejections per contest. They were unfortunate in that their opponents made 73.3% of their free throws, which ranked just 320th out of 351 teams.
On offense, the Bobcats were particularly dependent on spot up possessions, with 29.9% of their possessions ending that way. They only ranked in the 26th percentile of points per possession (PPP) for plays ending this way. They were more efficient on plays ending with shots for the pick & roll ball handler and for players coming off screens, but these were far less common plays. They did draw a fair number of free throws, ranking 105th nationally in free throw rate, but they only made 67.2% from the charity stripe, which put them 246th.
The Quinnipiac offense is fairly evenly distributed, with no player sticking out as clearly dominant in terms of possessions used on this side of the ball. Seniors Jen Fay and Aryn McClure taking the most shots. 5’11” wing McClure wasn’t the most efficient scorer, shooting just 26.7% on 116 jumpers, but she did excel in scoring near the basket in non-post-up opportunities, making 58.8% of her 97 tries in that range. McClure would benefit from focusing on jumpers inside of 17 feet: she made 20-51 of her tries in that range, but just 11 of 65 beyond that.
McClure is most effective coming off of cuts, as she ranked in the 96th percentile in PPP on these kind of plays.
6’0” forward Jen Fay is a better spot up shooter. She’s oddly better on long jumpers (between 17 feet & the three point line) vs. jumpers inside of 17 feet on a PPP basis. She’s a solid scorer in transition, on spot ups, and coming off of cuts, ranking in the 63rd to 71st percentiles in PPP for these play types. While she rarely used them, she was in the 94th percentile for post ups and in the 90th percentile for off screen PPP.
If Quinnipiac does continue their streak of successfully upsetting teams in the NCAAs (they knocked off #5 Marquette & #4 Miami in ’17 and #8 Miami in ’18), it’ll be due to their suffocating defense. They might not produce the most high flying games you’ll see in the tournament this year, but it’s been effective for them so far.
Statistics from Her Hoop Stats and Synergy Sports