Turnovers keep hurting SFU women

LORETTO – For about seven minutes Monday night, there was a glimmer of hope for the St. Francis women’s basketball team.

DeGol Arena was alive with energy, the student section was rocking and the Red Flash battled all the way back from a 21-point deficit to get within three of Northeast Conference leading Quinnipiac.

But just as quickly as St. Francis got back in the game, the Red Flash fell off the face of the earth in an 85-69 loss to the Bobcats.

“Turnovers limited our opportunitites to score,” St. Francis coach Joe Haigh said. “The turnovers are killing us. There were some positives, but I’m very disappointed. We need to take care of the basketball.”

St. Francis (9-8, 4-2 NEC) had issues holding onto the ball for the second straight game. This time, though, the painfully sloppy play didn’t start until more than six minutes were gone.

After Alli Williams hit a jumper at the 12:14 mark of the first half to pull SFU within one, the Red Flash didn’t hit another field goal for nearly 10 minutes.

During that time, Quinnipiac forced 16 turnovers and extended its lead to 20. St. Francis had 22 first-half turnovers.

“It’s too many turnovers,” Haigh said. “You’ve got to make layups and hold onto the ball.”

St. Francis had 31 turnovers after having 28 in Saturday’s blowout loss to Sacred Heart. Kia Gibbs had 19 in two games, 11 of those in 23 minutes on Monday from the point.

In all this weekend, Red Flash point guards have been charged with 30 turnovers.

“[It’s upsetting] especially after Saturday,” Haigh said. “That’s really frustrating. From a coaching standpoint, how does [Gibbs] even stay in the game long enough to get 11 [turnovers]? We tried some others, we tried some younger people. Our seniors didn’t respond.”

Hayward, Robin Perkins and Kelley Doogan were able to make the most of their time on the floor together.

The trio, along with Williams and Shene Fleming, helped get St. Francis back in the contest and nearly erased a 21-point, second-half deficit.

“Lex was just a desperation move really because she isn’t quite there at point guard,” Haigh admitted, “but she may get more opportunities now in the future because we made that run with her in there.”

But players just ran out of gas and the turnover bug struck again.

The Bobcats (15-2, 6-0) took control and rebuilt a 21-point lead with 1:43 remaining.

“Robin was dying and couldn’t move anymore, and Kelley had reached her limit, too,” Haigh said. “They both needed a break because they couldn’t go anymore.”

“A good team is going to give you all you can handle on their home floor,” Quinnipiac coach Fabbri said. “I couldn’t be happier with how we handled it and stayed composed.”

Felicia Barron had 28 points for Quinnipiac, while Jasmine Martin added 21.

Williams finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds – her 12th double-double of the season – but didn’t get much offensive help as no other Red Flash player reached double figures.

Williams did, however, get three steals to reach the 200-steal milestone and become only the third player in St. Francis women’s program history to score 1,000 points, grab 600 rebounds and have 200 steals in a career. She joins Jess Zinobile and Beth Swink in the elite club.

“I’m very happy with Alli’s effort,” Haigh said. “We need other people to score.”

Game notes: The Red Flash will look to rebound next weekend when they host Wagner and Robert Morris to conclude their four-game homestand. … St. Francis lost to Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac at home last season by a combined 41 points. This season, losses totaled 37 points. … The Bobcats now have a two-game lead over the Red Flash in the NEC standings. St. Francis is tied with Mount St. Mary’s, Central Connecticut and Monmouth for second place.

QUINNIPIAC (15-2, 6-0): Warner 4-6 1-2 9, McQuain 3-4 2-5 8, Barron 10-19 6-7 28, Martin 7-18 5-7 21, Abshire 1-2 5-7 7, Lebak 0-0 0-0 0, Napolitiano 0-1 0-0 0, Carroll 0-1 2-2 2, Cannon 3-8 0-0 7, Ostergaard 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 29-60 22-32 85.

ST. FRANCIS (9-8, 4-2): Fleming 3-6 0-0 6, Williams 9-14 9-11 29, Gibbs 3-6 1-3 7, Lilley 1-3 0-0 2, Hayward 2-9 0-0 4, Carangelo 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 1-2 0-0 2, Brock 0-1 0-0 0, Sparks 3-10 2-4 9, Keegan 1-2 0-0 2, Doogan 2-6 2-4 8. Totals 25-60 14-22 69.

Halftime-Quinnipiac 42-25. 3-point goals-Quinnipiac 5-19 (Martin 2-7, Barron 2-8, Cannon 1-4), St. Francis 5-19 (Williams 2-4, Doogan 2-5, Perkins 1-4, Lilley 0-1, Carangelo 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Hayward 0-3). Fouled out-Ostergaard, Lilley. Rebounds-Quinnipiac 32 (McQuain 7), St. Francis 44 (Williams 13). Assists-Quinnipiac 19 (Abshire 8), St. Francis 16 (Williams 5). Total fouls-Quinnipiac 22, St. Francis 24. A-537.