Joe D. talks with Quinnipiac Women’s Basketball Coach, Trish Fabbri about the exciting run the Bobcats have been on during the NCAA Tourney.
“We were laser focused and ready to make the most of our opportunity,” says Fabbri about the Bobcats two in a row wins against Marquette and Miami, which now has them headed to the Sweet 16 against South Carolina next week.
According to Fabbri, the streak of fire blazing from the Bobcats is partly due to being “under the radar,” for so long. She explains, “we’ve been doing really well in tournaments over the last couple of years, being under the radar on the national scene…we went down there (Florida) with a little chip on our shoulder ready to make some noise, and boy did we.”
Joe D. compliments the team’s fantastic ability to answer to Miami every time they made a run, both offensively and defensively.
“The second half of Miami mirrored what we did with Marquette,” says Fabbri. “We were determined to win a game in the NCAA tournament and we just played it so well, on both ends of the floor, and just went after it. We were fearless.”
Senior, Morgan Manz, who normally averages 6 points a game, sunk six 3-pointers against Miami, ending that game with a career high of 22 points.
Joe D. points out, “when a team makes a run like this, you need to have the players do things they’re not accustomed to.”
“Morgan will tell you herself,” says Fabbri lightheartedly, “that we’ve been begging her to shoot the ball… and last night she was hunting her shot. And it couldn’t have been at a better time – she was super aggressive.”
When playing against Marquette, Fabbri explains that Manz “wasn’t hunting her shot the way we needed her…and she was so mad.”
Being a Senior captain, Fabbri’s built a strong enough relationship with Manz to talk to her straight. “I told her, I know you’re mad at me but you got to shoot the ball for us.” Not only did Manz shoot that ball, she made magic, scoring a career high of 22 points against Miami, while blocking a shot with only 49 seconds left on the clock.
“The beauty of this team ,” explains Fabbri, “is that so many on the team have led us to all these victories. We can’t point to just one person because everyone is going to have the opportunity to make these big plays, and (against Miami), Manz answered that in a big way for this team.”
“Down the stretch, it wasn’t just Manz who made the plays,” Joe D. acknowledges, “everybody was on the floor for you…your daughter (Carly Fabbri), and Martucci…it was a true team effort especially at crunch time.”
“I’ll say this about Martucci,” says Fabbri, “she had the block of the game (against Marquette) on Hiedeman, their big gun. And last night, when we were only up one point, she came right down and drilled the biggest three pointer for us…it was almost like a knock out punch – having the right answer at the right time. She’s been so consistent all season.”
Joe D. asks what it was like after the game in the locker room. Fabbri laughs about getting “doused…I was happy to take a shower without actually getting into the shower.”
“That’s the new thing,” says Joe D., “it’s nice to see that the girls took good care of you in that way.”
It’s obvious Fabbri is grateful for all the support from the team and beyond, acknowledging the presence of President Lahey and his wife in Florida, along with the Athletic Director.
“I’m so happy so many are sharing in an historic weekend for Quinnipiac Basketball,” says Fabbri, adding, “Our team got the recognition that is long overdue…we earned it, and now we’ve become a great story in the tournament, moving onto the Sweet 16.”
“With 12 straight wins,” Joe D. asks, “was there a point late in the season that you thought your team was playing well enough to do what you’ve been able to do?”
“When the calendar turned to February, and with a young team (9 Freshman and Sophomores combined), it did seem like the season was never going to end. We weren’t playing our best basketball so we needed to refocus the team.”
According to Fabbri, the Seniors and upperclassman worked to find that purpose for the team, who have been on a roll ever since.
Joe D. asks what it’s like to coach her daughter (Carly Fabbri). Heading to Sweet 16 with Carly is “double the pleasure,” she says.
“The fact that when I talk to my husband on how to coach (Carly), and then I say to him, ‘can you believe we’re going to Sweet 16 together…that’s the biggest kick.’”
Fabbri also describes the incredible feeling of seeing video of her three brothers, “all 40 year old boys,” jumping up and down, and hugging one another while witnessing their niece and sister share in such an incredible moment, as part of the same team, and as part of the same family. “It’s double the pleasure for everybody,” she says, “and that certainly holds true to me on coaching Carly.”
“South Carolina is a tall order,” says Joe D., “but at this point in the season your team’s not scared of anybody.
Fabbri agrees, “We’re confident…we know it’s just a 40 minute game. It’s about us, our plan and being prepared. We’re ready to make the most of a real opportunity.”